The memory does not leave her. It was 2016. Chantal Rich participated in her first “mission” on behalf of the Biologie sans frontières (BSF) association. “It was in the middle of the bush, in Burkina Faso, says this former laboratory technician of the University Hospital of Clermont-Ferrand, who lives in Martres-de-Veyre. There were only nurses to take care of 26,000 inhabitants and if one of the they had to have a medical analysis, you had to do 50 km … “
The association of humanitarian pharmacists based in Clermont-Ferrand resumes its international activities
With the NGO Électriciens sans frontières, the BSF team started installing electricity, “because the evening consultations were done with a torch”. Before getting to the heart of the matter: the creation of a small analysis laboratory. “We started from scratch, we funded the hiring of a lab technician for a while and today it has been transformed into a medical center with a doctor,” Chantal Rich rejoices.
340 missions carried out all over the world
His personal story illustrates the actions taken by Biologie sans frontières over the past 30 years. Created in 1992 in Lyon, the association, recognized as being of public utility, has already carried out almost 340 missions in about forty developing countries, the vast majority in Africa (Cameroon, Madagascar, Togo, etc.) and Asia ( Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos …).
Here during a technical training in Cameroon.
His raison d’etre: “Initially it was about recovering laboratory equipment to give them a second life and equip small care facilities in developing countries,” says Chantal Rich. But it becomes very difficult to recover equipment suitable for the small health centers we support. We are increasingly forced to purchase this equipment “.
Equipment and training
However, BSF’s support is not limited to donations of microscopes or equipment for haematological or biochemical tests.
“We never send equipment without having trained the technicians on site on the use of the equipment but also on its maintenance and maintenance, verifying that they can have access for example to repair parts and carrying out quality checks. Each time, we do a follow-up. up, we don’t go there once, says the one who took over the presidency of Biologie sans frontières last spring. We are also careful not to jeopardize the structures with inadequate equipment economically “.
Chantal Rich (President of Biology Without Borders)
Supported locally by the University Hospital of Clermont-Ferrand, Inra and GenBio, the association now has about 300 members, including about forty people capable of carrying out missions abroad, mainly biologists and laboratory technicians, active or retired. . Their travels last from one to two weeks each time.
Volvicoise Martine Moy has been working for food for 15 years
“We do not intervene in an emergency as Doctors Without Borders can do, nor in high-risk areas. Our specialty is medical biology and the equipment installed in these countries can be used to detect malaria, diarrheal diseases, HIV, tuberculosis”, he lists Chantal Rich, herself driven by “human contact and the desire to share my experience in other countries”.
More information. On the Biologie sans frontières website.