Supporting researchers

An evaluation conducted in 2017 looked at the 21 operational research projects funded by L'Initiative since 2012. It revealed sustainable improvements in managing major pandemics. These results led in 2018 to the launch of an annual call for proposals specific to operational research whereby L'Initiative supports a diverse range of research stakeholders.

Researchers are able to engage with the results provided by funded programs and adapt strategies and interventions of control programs and community organizations as they are implemented. Operational research is fundamental to national and international strategies to end major pandemics. It also allows experimenting of innovative approaches around prevention, testing and monitoring of people.

We support research projects that:

  • Document the distinctive characteristics of pandemics
  • Improve prevention, testing and follow-up of people
  • Identify innovative strategies
  • Train new generations of researchers
  • Fit well in research priorities at country level
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DOCUMENTING DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERISTICS AND TRAINING NEW RESEARCHERS
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Between 150,000 and 320,000 cases of malaria are recorded each year in Mauritania. However, few epidemiological studies had been conducted in the country and data available to researchers had become obsolete.

Thanks to a project led by the Institute for research in Development (IRD), and implemented by Université de Nouakchott Al Aasriya, data on malaria in Mauritania has been updated. This data will be used as part of the national strategy, but also in health care and prevention projects. The project has identified the mosquito vectors of malaria by region, to evaluate the prevalence of the epidemic and parasites resistant to antimalarial drugs. It has also provided training to researchers in the country: six Mauritanian doctoral students have been supported or have written their thesis on malaria and seven students have been trained at Masters’ level.

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IMPROVING TESTING
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A child who is diagnosed early and have access to adequate TB treatment is likely to survive.

The TB-Speed project is implemented by an international consortium coordinated by Université de Bordeaux and is co-funded by Unitaid for the period running between 2017 and 2020. This research project aims to systematize the diagnosis of tuberculosis in vulnerable children and to facilitate their access to treatment in seven countries in Africa and Asia. Diagnosis is difficult in children and requires invasive tests that are not widely available in local health centers. TB-Speed makes symptomatic screening accessible to parents through simple questions and digitalized chest X-ray that is simple to interpret. The Xpert Ultra test also makes it possible to screen children in a less invasive way.

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EMERGING INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES
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Operational research is particularly relevant in helping to design the tools best suited to the challenges of malaria control, including resistance to antimalarials and insecticides that are emerging in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Between 2016 and 2019, L'Initiative funded the REACT project led by IRD, in partnership with Institut Pierre Richet in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire, and the IRSS in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. The impact of four new tools to complement impregnated mosquito nets on the transmission of malaria has been tested in about 60 villages.