By Emmanuel Ngota
CRESAR is a military research center that has contributed in carrying and promoting research works in Cameroon
The military Health and Research Center (CRESAR) was created in 2000 from a triple partnership with Johns Hopkins University USA, the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention in USA and the French Institute for Research on Development in France, to carry out research and biomedical diagnosis for the benefit of the Defence Forces, their families as well as the civilian populations of Cameroon. To achieve this mission, the Head of State equipped this institution with the state-of-the-arts technical platform. The acquisition of these equipment has transformed CRESAR to a reference military research center and biomedical diagnosis laboratory. Today, it can boast of eight molecular biology laboratories, a liquid nitrogen production plant, a sample storage room and an automatic electricity generator.
Over the years, CRESAR has greatly contribute to public health in Cameroon. In the surveillance of infections, CRESAR has participated in the early detection of infections. For example, in 2004 and 2016, with the technical support of its partners, it helped the Ministries of Health, Forestry and that of Livestock to confirm the outbreak of monkey pox in wild animals. Presently, monkey pox is a serious health problem in the North West region for all the population have been warned not to consume game. Between 2009 and 2014, CRESAR participated in the surveillance of human influenza. In May 2016, it confirmed the diagnosis of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) from samples collected and in September 2016, collaboration between CRESAR and the Cameroon Development Cooperation helped in building the capacity of military personnel to conduct diagnosis, analysis and interpretation of monkey pox, making CRESAR a reference laboratory for the detection of this virus in Cameroon. The institution has also been influential in early infant diagnosis of HIV in children under 18 months so as to put them on treatment early enough. They have also been evaluating viral load for all patients under antiretroviral treatment the goal here is to evaluate the efficacy of anti-retroviral therapy to better prevent mother-to-child transmission. The real-time PCR machine that went operational in 2017 and which is fully operated by military personnel has obtained remarkable results, more than 300 examination of daily diagnosis of HIV in children and more than 3000 HIV viral load tests have been performed.
Besides, been a research and biomedical diagnosis center, CRESAR offers training to military laboratory technicians and academic internship at the master’s level for university students.