The IDDS project in Madagascar draws to a close: a look at the highlights and prospects

March 6, 2024 - Antananarivo (Madagascar)


The closing ceremony for the Infectious Disease Detection and Surveillance (IDDS) project was held on January 31, 2024, in Antananarivo. Launched in July 2020, this ambitious project was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), coordinated by ICF and implemented by Madagascar’s Ministry of Public Health and the Mérieux Foundation. Completed in December 2023, the project marks a major milestone in the fight against infectious diseases in Madagascar.

Photo of the closing ceremony of the IDDS project. Foreground: men and women with their backs to chairs, facing a lectern and a projection on the wall.

Closing ceremony of the IDDS project

Rolled out in some 20 countries, IDDS was particularly focused in Madagascar on strengthening surveillance and detection capacities.

The IDDS project’s diagnostic activities were entrusted to the Mérieux Foundation on account of its expertise, and carried out thanks to close collaboration with the biologists and technicians of Madagascar’s RESAMAD laboratory network, which includes 27 hospital laboratories. The project was also carried out in partnership with several departments of the Ministry of Public Health in Madagascar (MINSANP), in particular the Department of Pharmacy, Laboratories and Traditional Medicine (DPLMT) and the Department of Health Watch, Epidemiological Surveillance and Response (DVSSER).

One of the major achievements of 2023 was a pilot project to train a pool of quality auditors, involving eight key RESAMAD laboratories. The primary objectives of this training program were to assess the level of compliance with ISO 15189 requirements in selected laboratories through audits carried out by the trained auditors. A RESAMAD workshop held a session on this topic for the network’s 27 members.

Another highlight was the development of capacities in bacteriology, particularly at the Mahavoky Atsimo Mahajanga University Hospital Center (CHUMA), Marovoay District 2 Reference Hospital Center (CHRD2) and Itasy Regional Reference Hospital Center (CHRR). This was achieved through specialized training and the supply of equipment dedicated to bacteriological testing.

“We were thrilled by the arrival of the IDDS team and the Faculty of Medicine at Marovoay CHRD2, which brought with it the creation of a state-of-the-art bacteriology laboratory. Before this, our analyses had to be sent to Mahajanga for processing. We now have the capacity to carry out bacterial culture and Gram staining in-house. This is a significant step forward for our establishment,” said Martin Randriamandresy, Head of the Marovoay CHRD2.

The closing ceremony was marked by speeches by a number of specialists and leaders, including: Dr. Frantz Jean Louis, ICF Project Manager; Professor Rija Niaina Ramarolahy Andriatiaray, Director General of Healthcare Provision at the Ministry of Public Health; Luciana Rakotoarisoa, Head of the Madagascar country office at the Mérieux Foundation; and Dr. Christian Rafalimanana, President of RESAMAD. Each speech highlighted the project’s significant impact on public health in Madagascar.

The close collaboration between USAID, ICF, the members of the RESAMAD network, the local IDDS team, the Mérieux Foundation, and the Ministry of Public Health was vital to the project’s success. As the IDDS project draws to a close, the focus now shifts towards sustaining the significant achievements made during the project. The recommendations issued to ensure ongoing support for the laboratories reflect the commitment of all those involved in the sustainable improvement of public health in Madagascar.

About IDDS

Established in May 2018, USAID’s Infectious Disease Detection and Surveillance (IDDS) project was a five-year, $120-million initiative that was rolled out in more than 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia where there are significant gaps in the capacity of health systems to rapidly detect, track, and respond to infectious diseases and drug-resistant infections that pose a major threat to public health and global health security.

The IDDS project was led by ICF and a consortium of partners: FHI 360, PATH, Abt Associates, the African Society for Laboratory Medicine, Association of Public Health Laboratories, Gryphon Scientific, the Mérieux Foundation and Metabiota.

For more information about IDDS project