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The Agence Française de Développement and the Mérieux Foundation continue their commitment to strengthen the West African Network of Clinical Laboratories (RESAOLAB)

October 10, 2019 | Lyon (France)

Rémy Rioux, Director General of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), today signed a project with Jean-Pierre Bosser, Director General of the Mérieux Foundation, to develop more efficient and reliable laboratory services in West Africa. Strengthening clinical diagnostics is a central public health issue in West Africa. This RESAOLAB project will receive a total of €8.6 million.

In 2009, the Merieux Foundation, thanks in particular to AFD funding, initiated the development of RESAOLAB, in partnership with the ministries of health of member countries. Today, AFD is continuing its support to the Merieux Foundation, a long-standing partner, to strengthen clinical laboratory services in 7 French-speaking West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo). The support will also enhance regional cooperation to ensure that interventions are coordinated and harmonized among these partner countries.

RESAOLAB+ makes it possible to continue strengthening laboratory systems and advocating for their importance

The RESAOLAB+ project will foster the development of more efficient and reliable clinical laboratory services with particular attention to the surveillance of antimicrobial resistance – in collaboration with WHO – as well as diagnostic testing and monitoring for the major pandemics (HIV and tuberculosis) covered by the Global Fund.

This project also aims to strengthen advocacy on the importance for countries to allocate sufficient operating budgets to the departments in charge of laboratory services, thereby ensuring their self-sufficiency. The structuring of a regional network will facilitate the sharing of best practices and information, which are crucial for proper epidemiological surveillance and epidemic preparedness.

Supporting clinical diagnostics is essential to fighting infectious diseases

The emergence and re-emergence of diseases with epidemic potential, now accentuated by the movement of populations, remain major public health challenges for West African countries. These infectious diseases can severely erode already fragile health systems and destabilize countries due to their political, economic and social consequences. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 42 of the 55 epidemics recorded in Africa over the last ten years have occurred in West Africa.

At the core of the health system, clinical diagnostics are a fundamental pillar of prevention, diagnosis and response to infectious diseases, both in terms of detection and patient monitoring, and in terms of epidemiological surveillance. However, despite the efforts of the international community, particularly since the dramatic Ebola epidemic in 2014, the needs of the laboratory sector remain immense.

About the Agence Française de Développement

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) funds, supports and accelerates the transitions to a fairer and more sustainable world.

Focusing on climate, biodiversity, peace, education, urban development, health and governance, our teams carry out more than 4,000 projects in France’s overseas departments and territories and another 115 countries. In this way, we contribute to the commitment of France and French people to support the sustainable development goals.

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