The MERIT research unit "Mother and child in a tropical environment: pathogens, health system and epidemiological transition" is a joint research unit between the Research Institute for Development (IRD) and the University of Paris Cité (UPCité) . It conducts research programs aimed at understanding the phenomena at the origin of morbidity and mortality during pregnancy, during the postpartum period and during the first years of life.

UMR MERIT is characterized by a great multidisciplinarity allowing it to address its research questions through complementary paths (epidemiology, biology, biostatistics, anthropology and demography) and has offices in Paris, Accra and Cotonou.

Alongside infectious themes, in particular malaria and helminths, which constitute the historical base of the Unit, MERIT is opening up to new themes in order to take into account the evolution of epidemiological situations which characterize the intertropical zones. This epidemiological transition is complex and is manifested both by changes in the epidemiological profile of endemic infectious diseases and also by the increase in non-communicable pathologies. Among the latter, MERIT is particularly interested in those linked to global warming as well as to increasing urbanization and the pollution it generates, characteristics of cities in the South.


To address these issues MERIT has organized itself into a single-team unit structured around thematic areas:

  • AXIS 1: HOPE (Host-pathogen interactions)
  • AXIS 2: MEDS (Medicines: from the molecule to the market)
  • AXIS 3: GENE (Genetic adaptation of the host)

A “Management, Information and Communication (GECO)” center supports the research areas. Its purpose is to facilitate the work of researchers within the unit.


Main objectives

Studying the diseases of pregnant women in the intertropical zone, and their consequences on maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality

Studying diseases in the first years of life, and their consequences in terms of public health

Use the results of our work
to develop integrated pest management strategies

Our devices in the South

In the South MERIT also has IRD structuring mechanisms formalizing the co-construction and co-implementation of research, training and innovation projects.

An International Joint Laboratory on the consequences of helminthic infections


includes our partners from Benin and Ghana but also theUniversity of Perpignan and the one at Sao Paulo.


Three Young Associated Teams



on the consequences of climate change on health



on the bio-ecology and resistance of Anopheles mosquitoes to insecticides



on severe malaria


Two locations (Benin and Ghana)
and a construction site in Senegal.


Our work takes place within two partnership structures:

le Joint Joint Laboratory (LMC) “CERPAGE”
(Centre for study and research on pathologies associated with pregnancy and childhood)

and l'Benin Clinical Research Institute (IRCB).


our laboratories are located at Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra.


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