After returning home from studying in the United States, Professor Jean William Pape was the first person to discover HIV / AIDS in Haiti. To combat this infectious disease, in 1982 he created the Institut GHESKIO, in the capital Port Au Prince.
Its mission is to provide a free, high quality service for patients undergoing treatment, carry out applied research on infectious diseases and train qualified health workers.
Fondation Christophe and Rodolphe Mérieux, and later Fondation Mérieux, have been associated with the development of the Institute since 2003, providing human and material support for medical biology. The foundation finances the purchase of equipment and reagents and a biologist has been assigned the task of increasing the capacity of the GHESKIO medical analysis and research laboratory.
Fondation Mérieux has thus enabled this Institute to provide:
confirmation of HIV infection, particularly in new-born children of mothers infected with the virus;
access to screening of certain parameters such as rubella, hepatitis B and toxoplasmosis;
help with treatment, taking into account drug-resistance problems;
access to analyses not available in Haiti (lipase, amylase…);
the setting up of studies on multi-resistant tuberculosis…
As the activities of the GHESKIO Institut and its 37 regional centres are exponential, a new centre has been built in another area of the capital thanks to the help of AFD. Fondation Mérieux has thus contributed in 2008 to the design and building of the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory in the IMIS Centre (Institut des Maladies Infectieuses et de Santé de la Reproduction) in Port-au-Prince. This laborator is equipped with a BSL-2 biosecurity room and offers an effective research tool.
An expert biologist from the Foundation has been assigned to develop research programmes at the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory, in conjunction with the team of Professor Jean William Pape.