In 2005, the Mérieux Foundation constructed the Charles Mérieux Center for Infectious Disease with a Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory (LRM) in Bamako. As a member of the GABRIEL network, the LRM in Bamako focuses its research on tuberculosis, hepatitis B, respiratory infections and febrile diseases. It also receives support from the Mérieux Foundation to improve its laboratory to meet ISO 15189 international quality standards. In 2017, the Center opened a BSL-3 laboratory dedicated to diagnostics and research on drug-resistant tuberculosis.
In response to the Ebola epidemicer in West Africa in 2014-2015, the Mérieux Foundation USA facilitated the transfer of vehicles specifically outfitted to transport patients, samples, and the deceased while lowering the risk of transmission in the region. Additionally, the Charles Mérieux Center for Infectious Disease deployed a mobile laboratory to detect Ebola and other dangerous pathogens in remote regions of Mali. The mobile laboratory has been given to the Malian Ministry of Health, and the Mérieux Foundation continues to train health workers on its proper use through the G5 Sahel Biosecurity Network.
In 2009, Mali was one of three founding countries of the Mérieux Foundation’s the West African Network of Biomedical Analysis Laboratories (RESAOLAB). RESAOLAB strengthens public health capacity in West African countries by improving laboratory services through training and continuing education, epidemiological surveillance tools, policy implementation, standardization, quality assurance, governance, funding models and international coordination.
Beginning in 2011, the Mérieux Foundation’s LABOMEDCAMP project has improved medical care and diagnostics for people living in rural Mali by establishing medical analysis laboratories in community health centers and linking them in a national laboratory network. So far, ten laboratories have been created and eight more are underway.
The Mérieux Foundation continues to work in Mali on a number of regional and international projects. As part of the Global Health Security Agenda’s DJOMI project, the Mérieux Foundation has trained laboratory professionals on biosecurity, biosafety, sample collection and transport, and antimicrobial resistance; and has assessed Malian clinical biology laboratories. For ten years, the Mérieux Foundation (in partnership with the School of Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology (ESTBB) of the Catholic University of Lyon) offered a Bachelor of Science in Biological and Applied Medical Science (BAMS) in Mali, a tuition-free degree program for the continuing education of more than 200 West African laboratory technicians. In 2018, BAMS became a Master’s degree program at the University of Bamako.