Haiti

Haiti is one of the countries that has been hardest hit by natural disasters in the past 20 years. We have been working there since 2002, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Population and the GHESKIO Centers to strengthen the national laboratory system and specialized research capacity. We also support several initiatives for mothers and children.

Overview

  • First Mérieux Foundation mission in 2002
  • Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory (2009) at the Institute for Infectious Diseases and Reproductive Health at the GHESKIO (Haitian Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunist Infection Study Group) Centers in Port-au-Prince, member of the GABRIEL network

The Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory’s research focus: tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, microbiology & bacterial resistance

Situation

Access to diagnosis

Haiti is one of the first countries in which we operated. We have a long-standing partner, the GHESKIO Centers, where the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory is located. It is the only high biosafety level (BSL3) laboratory in the country. We have supported the implementation of microbiology and molecular diagnostic techniques to enable HIV viral load quantification, cholera testing and Zika virus diagnostics. 

Pr Jean-William Pape, Fondateur et Directeur des Centres GHESKIO en Haïti, Professeur de Médecine au Weill Medical College de l’Université de Cornell, Etats-Unis

Since 2015, we have coordinated the SPHaïtiLAB project to strengthen the country’s laboratory network. The project includes recruiting qualified staff for the National Public Health Laboratory, assessing 30 laboratories across the country, and drafting the National Laboratory Policy. SPHaïtiLAB is co-funded by the Mérieux Foundation and the European Union as part of their “Supporting Public Health Institutes Programme” and implemented in collaboration with the National Public Health Laboratory (LNSP), the Department of Laboratory and Research Epidemiology (DELR), the GHESKIO Centers and the African Institute of Public Health in Burkina Faso.

We also contributed our expertise to the reconstruction of the biology laboratory at the State University hospital in Haiti, which was destroyed by the earthquake in 2010.

Enhancing research capabilities

As part of the GABRIEL network, Haitian researchers at the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory benefit from training modules developed by the Emerging Pathogens Laboratory in Lyon, participate in collaborative research programs and work to achieve ISO 15189 international quality certification.

We also support a study on multi-resistant tuberculosis by the GHESKIO Centers at five sites in the country as part of the SPHaïtiLAB project.

Knowledge-sharing

To encourage continuing training for practicing laboratory technicians in Haiti, we created the BAMS course (Bachelor in Applied Medical Biology), in partnership with the School of Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology (ESTBB) of the Catholic University of Lyon. This degree level course began in 2007 in Mali and in 2011 in Haiti and aims to strengthen theoretical and practical skills of laboratory technicians, focusing on best practices and logistical aspects.

Health education training: we contributed to the creation of a course on water for primary schools, in partnership with the Academy of Sciences.

Support for mothers and children

In partnership with Fondation Christophe et Rodolphe Mérieux, we support several NGOs that fight poverty in Haiti and the devastating effects of natural disasters (the earthquake in 2010, Hurricane Matthew in 2016):

  • Micro-credit program for women living with HIV/AIDS : In collaboration with ACME (Association for Cooperation with Micro-Enterprises) and the GHESKIO Centers, the program offers women living with or vulnerable to HIV/AIDS training sessions on managing an income-generating activity. These women also have the opportunity to receive a micro-credit to support their business. Since 2005, more than 8,900 loans have been given to 3,900 women and the reimbursement rate is above 90%.
  • Communauté de l’Incarnation children’s home in Leogane: We support the development of the institution and improve the living conditions of children and staff through the construction of houses, providing access to clean water and better nutrition, but also provision of school supplies, access to healthcare and development of income-generating activities.
  • Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal children’s home in Cap Haitian: This children’s home, managed by Sister Godelive, welcomes 500 children in the renovated school and close to a hundred residents in the orphanage. With the support of Fondation Christophe et Rodolphe Mérieux, following projects to increase the capacity and improve the living conditions at the institution, we are providing medical care and food aid.
  • Association Klib Timoun Kè Kontan (AKTKK): The AKTKK association aims to help disadvantaged children by giving them the opportunity to learn a trade (such as baking, embroidery, floral art, crafts).
  • Salines dispensary : Created by AAIP (Firefighter’s international aid actions) in Jacmel, this medical dispensary works to provide care for vulnerable populations in need of medical treatment (medical consultation, vaccination, pediatric care, etc. …).

After Hurricane Matthew, in partnership with the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, we contributed to urgent aid: awareness-raising in communities and distribution of cholera kits, medicine, food kits and tarpaulins for roofs.

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