Cambodia

To address major public health threats in Cambodia, we provide our expertise in infectious diseases, training clinical biologists and strengthening the national laboratory network, particularly by renovating clinical diagnostic laboratories.

Overview

  • First Mérieux Foundation mission in 2001
  • Mérieux Foundation office: 1 Cambodian employee
  • Reconstruction of the Faculty of Pharmacy in Phnom Penh in partnership with the Pierre Fabre Foundation (2003)
  • Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory in the University of Health Sciences in Phnom Penh (opened in 2005 and renovated in 2016), member of the GABRIEL network
  • 9 medical biology laboratories renovated since 2007

The Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory’s research focus: respiratory infections – hepatitis – environmental pathogens

Situation

Cambodia is one of the first countries where we operated, with our first project there dating back to 2001. In 2003, we contributed to rebuilding the Pharmacy Faculty in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the Pierre Fabre Foundation. The Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory was created in 2005 and renovated in 2016. A new regional platform for research on infectious diseases was opened on the Pasteur Institute campus in Phnom Penh in 2014 (as part of the AVISEAN Sud scientific network, of which the Mérieux Foundation is a member).

Access to diagnosis

Ensuring the quality of diagnosis is a key focus of the project to strengthen the CAM-LAB network of Cambodian laboratories which we have supported for several years. A national external quality assessment program is being conducted as part of the collaboration with the Bureau of Medical Laboratory Service and the National Institute of Public Health of the Cambodian Ministry of Health, with the support of the WHO, NAMRU-2 (Naval Medical Research Unit Two) and the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Recently designated a Regional Reference Center, the microbiology laboratory of the Battambang province hospital is being extended with our support.

Enhancing research capabilities

As part of the GABRIEL network, researchers at the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory in Phnom Penh benefit from training modules developed by the Emerging Pathogens Laboratory in Lyon and participate in two research projects:

  • Identification of pneumococci in circulation using PCR technology: to determine the characteristics of the invasive pneumococcal disease and the colonization in Cambodian patients before and after vaccination,
  • Hepatitis C mono-infection (HCV) and HIV-HCV co-infection in Cambodia: assessing the prevalence of HCV and its subtypes in people living with HIV and pregnant woman who attend prenatal appointments,
  • Virologic and epidemic study of the epidemic dynamics of the influenza virus in Cambodia.

Since its inauguration in 2005, the key achievements of the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory include:

  • 15 research projects with a total budget of approximately 1.2 million U.S. dollars from external partners;
  • 14 articles published in international journals and 9 presentations given at scientific conferences;
  • 46 internship students hosted, working on specific scientific projects, as well as 15 students who have defended their specialist medical biology theses.

Support for mothers and children

With the support of Fondation Christophe et Rodolphe Mérieux, we are engaged in two humanitarian initiatives in Cambodia:

  • The research project on pesticides in drinking water by the NGO 1001 Fontaines,
  • The Doctor Christophe Mérieux Center, a children’s home in Phnom Penh which offers disadvantaged young people the chance to pursue higher education, in partnership with the Children of the Mekong association.

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