The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) on Thursday announced 'Labs for Life,' a new collaboration to help strengthen healthcare and laboratory facilities in the developing world.
The new collaboration is led by the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator in the U.S. Department of State, and Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD), a leading global medical technology company, along with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Valued at $20 million, it builds on a prior five-year public-private partnership between PEPFAR and BD that focused on improving overall laboratory systems and services in sub-Saharan African countries severely affected by HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
Labs for Life will include Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Mozambique and also expand outside of Africa to India, the U.S. State Department said in a press release.
A five-year agreement, Labs for Life builds on the success of the initial laboratory strengthening program. It will focus on Quality improvement for laboratory services to attain national, regional, or international accreditation; Laboratory Human Resources training on pathology, forecasting and optimization; Curriculum development and training on equipment maintenance; Collaboration with the African Center for Integrated Laboratory Training (ACILT) and the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) to strengthen local capacity and promote country ownership and sustainability; and Use of HIV systems to address non-communicable diseases - such as diabetes - and creation of capabilities in health systems to adopt point-of-care technologies.
In addition to launching the new collaboration, BD and PEPFAR also unveiled the results of a third-party assessment of their initial laboratory strengthening collaboration. Aligning with PEPFAR's priority of strengthening health systems, initial collaboration addressed national needs to improve quality and accuracy of laboratory test results to support clinical decision-making for initiation and monitoring patients in Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Africa. Working with Ministries of Health, BD collaborated with CDC field staff to develop a sustainable model integrating technology transfer, local workforce and health infrastructure development.
Assessing the performance of this partnership, Cardno, an external auditing company, reported that countries where capacity-building took place have not only improved the quality of services available to local populations, but also have become regional centers of excellence in Africa.
by RTT Staff Writer
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