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WARDS: Building on RESAOLAB’s success in training for ECOWAS

June 5, 2015 | Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)

The West African Regional Disease Surveillance Capacity Strengthening (WARDS) project’s objective is to strengthen the regional disease surveillance and response systems of the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS).

Fondation Mérieux participated in the annual review meeting for WARDS held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on June 4-5. The meeting’s focus was to review the project’s development, to discuss preliminary results and to strategize on future implementation.

Following the success of RESAOLAB, the West African Health Organization (WAHO) and the World Bank asked Fondation Mérieux to expand the program’s training modules for laboratory personnel to the 15 ECOWAS member countries included in WARDS. Fondation Mérieux will provide technical assistance to strengthen human resource capabilities for the 60 centers for epidemiological surveillance in ECOWAS to be created as part of WARDS.

Already in 2015, Fondation Mérieux has conducted exploratory visits in Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, and Cape Verde and more visits are planned for English-speaking countries from September 2015 through March 2016. Currently, training modules are being adapted and translated into English and Portuguese for WARDS. The modules cover: surveillance of chronic illness, diseases with epidemic potential, microscopy, antibiotic susceptibility testing and bacterial resistance, biomedical equipment maintenance, quality assurance, biosafety and waste management, pre‐ and post‐analytical process. Upcoming training sessions in 2015 will be conducted in the Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, and Cape Verde.

For 2017, Fondation Mérieux aims to complete 3 training of trainer sessions and 12 training sessions for laboratory technicians in 8 West African countries. Through the initiative, a total of 176 laboratory technicians will benefit from training.


In 2009, Fondation Mérieux launched RESAOLAB (West African network of biomedical analysis laboratories) in collaboration with the ministers of health of Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal. Four new countries joined this inter-country West African laboratory network in 2013: Benin, Guinea, Niger and Togo. Before RESAOLAB, no regional program covering West Africa has targeted capacity building for medical biology testing. Through RESAOLAB, Fondation Mérieux leads the efforts to strengthen laboratory capacity and supports the West African Health Organization (WAHO) by implementing a regional approach to improve the quality of biomedical analyses, train laboratory personnel at the national level (technicians, technologists, post graduate pharmacists and medical doctors in biology) and support epidemiological surveillance.

Project contacts

Dr. Josette Najjar
Training & Courses Manager (Fondation Mérieux)
E-mail: Send an e-mail

Ms. Lorène Ladan Fofana
Regional Manager West Africa
E-mail: Send an e-mail

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