Enhancing the biosecurity capacities of G5 Sahel countries – review of the deployment of a mobile laboratory in Mauritania
Following a week of training at the National Institute of Public Health Research in Mauritania, a mobile laboratory was installed in the suburbs of Nouakchott (Mauritania) for a two-week deployment exercise.
The event was rounded off with a ceremony bringing together key players in the health sector and in One Health to celebrate the G5 Sahel project, which aims to enhance the biosecurity capacities of the G5 Sahel countries.
The closing ceremony, organized remotely by the Fleming Fund, enabled each country benefiting from the scheme to look back on the achievements of the 24-month project. The Mérieux Foundation coordinated a consortium with VetagroSup and Hôpitaux de Paris in Senegal to provide support for six fellows.
The scheme was launched in January 2020 and has since enabled these three institutions to support six health professionals from Senegal – two from the human health sector, three from the animal health sector and one from the environmental health sector – with the objective of improving the quality and quantity of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance data through a One Health approach, and strengthening the reporting, sharing and use of surveillance data on a local, national and global level.
Together, the host institutions developed a work plan based on the One Health approach, with a common core of training sessions for the six fellows, to create a cohesive community and to bridge the gap between the different sectors. At the same time, a personalized 24-month training plan including stays in host laboratories and online training was deployed for each of the fellows. A networking program was also set up to allow the fellows to get involved in national, regional and international AMR circles.
During this scheme, the six fellows set up a collaborative research project under the title “Characterizing the resistance of Escherichia coli strains that produce extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBL) of human and animal origin according to the One Health approach in the Dakar and Saint-Louis regions”.
This project brought the six fellows together to work towards shared objectives:
- Determining the prevalence of the isolated ESBL coli in humans and animals.
- Identifying the genes involved in the resistance of Escherichia coli
- Comparing the genetic diversity of strains circulating in the human and animal sectors.
At the end of this scheme, it was found that the fellows had made a great deal of personal progress in the field of antimicrobial resistance. The project allowed them to increase their knowledge of the detection of resistance mechanisms, molecular epidemiology and surveillance. It also created opportunities for sharing experience between global scientific communities working on AMR. Most of the fellows developed their own training skills and helped to set up new training programs at a national and regional level. This strengthening of skills also led to access to new professional responsibilities for the fellows.
About the Fleming Fund and the Fellowship Scheme
The Fleming Fund is a UK aid program to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in 24 low and middle-income countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The program is managed by the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in partnership with the management consultant Mott MacDonald.
The Fleming Fund has supported these countries in their national governance with regard to AMR and helped with sharing knowledge, strengthening the technical capacities of practitioners and laboratories and reinforcing the capacities of AMR surveillance systems. The Fleming Fund Fellowship Scheme provided fellowships with mentoring as part of this program and was dedicated to the professional development of practitioners working in animal, environmental and human health and belonging to the national beneficiary institutions.
The Mérieux Foundation was the coordinator of the consortium of beneficiary institutions and worked with Mott MacDonald to plan training sessions for the fellows and reporting on their activities. The Mérieux Foundation also fulfilled the role of direct mentor for one of the fellows.