Mérieux Foundation seminar: finally reunited after 2 years of distance work


May 17, 2022
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Presentation of situation reports, project successes and challenges

From the May 9-11, 2022 the Mérieux Foundation team finally met in Aix-En-Provence after 2 years of limited travel and distance working. After the limitations imposed due to the absence of face-to-face coordination and contact this was a great opportunity for the SEALAB team. The project team was able to finally meet in person and discuss the coordination of the project and the development work and laboratory capacity building.

The Mérieux Foundation has had to adapt it’s vision to the political situation and intabilities in the region. This vision aims to:

  • improve diagnostic and surveillance of infectious diseases to  benefit the most vulnerable populations.
  • promote exchanges and multidisciplinary collaborations and improve the public health for infectious diseases.
  • work for mother and child in a global health approach.

During the three days the team exchanged their experiences on the different working environments in which they have had to operate in and to implement the project.

Although the each country situation was different the teams shared the same challenges in regard to safety and a difficult working environment, relations with local partners, authorizations processes and requirements, advocacy. The teams had also to overcome difficult political situations where it was a challenge to implement the project.

Presentations included situations reports, project successes and challenges with examples from Cambodia, Haiti, Lao PDR, Lebanon Mali, Myanmar and Niger.

The Lao PDR  team shared their experinece of the long MoU signing process that was required for approving a project for SEALAB in Lao PDR. This included the involvement of a many departments for the approval process such as the DCDC, DHCR, DOPHO, DPFA, MOH and MOFA.

The West Africa n team discussed their experiences with Perdiem allocations, it’s perception, and issues related to implementing projects.

In a joint session the Cambodian and Togo teams presented their experience on how the projects where implemented during the COVID-19 restrictions and how the projects where implemented without Mérieux Foundations offices.

It was highlighted that it was possible with close collaboration between the iNGO network and the Mérieux Foundation in Lyon to find solutions for each situation and country.

With all the difficulties and the rising risks the Mérieux Foundations General Director concluded that when present in a country the Mérieux Foundations aims to find solutions and continue it’s work. The Mérieux Foundation  has a long-term strategy for these countries and has already implemented solutions which have proven to be efficient, adaptating to the local situation to benefit the vulnerable populations.

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