Fondation Merieux

A family foundation dedicated to fighting infectious diseases

Fondation Mérieux in Mali reports on it’s activities

4 January 2008, Lyon (France)

On 24 October 2007, as part of the forty years anniversary of Fondation Mérieux, the Director of Fondation Mérieux Mali, Youssouf Issabré, organised an important day of different activities for the Charles Mérieux Centre in Bamako.

More than one hundred personalities attended this event: representatives of WHO, the European Commission, the Health Ministers of Mali, Senegal and Burkina Faso, NGO's, universities and companies.

After the welcome speech of Lamine Cissé Sarr (representing WHO Mali), Deba Diawara (General Secretary of the Health Ministry of Mali) and representatives of the European Commission Delegation in Mali, Benoit Miribel (General Director of Fondation Mérieux) presented the activities of Fondation Mérieux and Youssouf Issabré presented a summary of the programmes of Fondation Mérieux Mali.

This summary was made around four main activities of of the Centre:

  • Support for Malian patients via the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory;

  • Research in public health;

  • Training of health professionals of Mali and of the sub-region;

  • Creation of a network of laboratories in Mali via the Action BioMali project.

Aïssata Sidibé (Assistant Director) presented the biomedical analysis activities and results of the laboratory. The laboratory receives today an average of 50 to 70 patients per day. Too much resistance developes due to lack of appropriate diagnosis as it is essential to strengthen collaboration between clinicians and biologists.

In the field of research, Youssouf Issabré took advantage of this day to mention the need for a P3 laboratory in Bamako and to explain the research projects which will be carried out in 2008. The projects will concern haemorrhagic fevers, malaria, co-infection HIV1 / HIV2, nosocomial diseases and bacterial resistances. Professor Ogobara Doumbo underlined the that too many cases are referred as being malaria when in realitythey are not. They are flu or other fevers which must be treated differently.

The different trainings offered at the Charles Mérieux Centre were presented by Fatou Traor Faye, Assistant Director, in charge of training:

  • Short courses (5 days): qualifying training for biologists and doctors allowing them to compare their knowledge with their colleagues from the north. The themes considered concern: diagnosis of malaria, tuberculosis, HIV / AIDS, bacteriology, CD4 and quality control.

  • Fellowship training (2 weeks): training for laboatory technicians in order to allow them to improve their knowledge; 140 technicians attended the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory to develop their expertise on diagnosis techniques and procedures, use and maintenance of the equipment, good laboratory practices, management of biological wastes.

  • Long term training – BAMS (8 month): 16 technicians (one from Burkina Faso) are following, since the start of October 2007, courses given by the teachers of ESTBB and Malian professors in order to obtain a Bachelor's degree. These technicians are chosen by an examination in April of each year.

The progress report of the Action BioMali project, summarized in the newsletter letter 2, was presented by Djénéba Sy Sylla, scientific coordinator of the project. The report observed that the existing laboratories, and also the laboratories under construction, do not always respect the standards. Action BioMali will thus insist that these standards are defined and respected.

The participants on the day also expressed the wish to have a list of reagents and consumables to order are validated by the national programmes on HIV / AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. It was strongly recommended to share them with the Action BioMali project in order to ensure coherence and guarantee the perpetuation of the project.

In concluding this day, the Health Minister confirmed his support to the development of the Charles Mérieux Centre in Bamako and the Action BioMali project.

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