The objectives of the RESAOLAB project is to strengthen the laboratory sector of three west African countries (Mali, Burkina Faso and Senegal).

It targets three essential functions reserved for the laboratory network:

  • continuous training of personnel

  • quality management

  • epidemiologic surveillance.

The content of the project will unfold over three years around four components:

Continuous training of laboratory personnel

This step applies to the joint development (intercountry) of a continous training plan for biologoists, trainers and laboratory technicians, and the joint drafting of nine training modules. Fifteen trainers and 100 health professionals from each country, or 345 persons in total, will be trained. Twelve reference strucutres (4 per country, 3 regional laboratories and 1 national laboratory) will brought up to standard and equipped for practical work.

Finally, an internet training platform will be developed to limit, in the long term, the travelling for this training.

Strengthening of Quality Assurance

This component is based on the joint definition (intercountry) and national validation of a laboratory quality plan. This document will define the standards for personnel, equipement, fitting out, activity and procedures (including waste management), data processing and security.

The reference structures for the Quality Assurance system will be renovated, their equipment completed and their capacities strengthened (12 in total, identical to those retained for training). They will have the responsibility to diffuse the standards defined in the plan and control the quality of the procedures and results produced by the laboratories of the countries (external evaluation of the quality). This activity will be, in particular, carried out in the framework of missions of supervision with public and private laboratories from each country.

The approval of the quality assurance concept and practices by the laboratory personnel will be strengthened by a specific module on this theme, taught in the continuous training course.

Stengthening of the epidemiological surveillance system

A epidemiological surveillance programme as well as a database commun to the three countries will be jointly defined. They will be fed by data from the laboratory networks of each country.

Forty five national and regional level laboratories (15 per country) will be equipped with computer materials and trained in the use of the internet by the project. A base wiil be fed from a information and laboratory management systemof which the use will give more reliable data. This operation will come to strengthen the national systems of epidemiological surveillance of each country.

The national reference laboratory capacities will be strengthened. These structures will be able to provide the epidemiological data necessary to the service of epidemiological surveillanceof the ministries of health.

Structuring of a sub-regional network of laboratories

The structuring of a network of laboratories common to the three countries will not be the object of specific activities but will be the result of a project procdedure as well as work methods and support retained dans the 3 first components.

The intercountry workshops intended to draw up the documents framework of each component as well as the pooling of work tools via a internet portal (epidemiological database, training modules, information…) and the composition of the international pilot committee, will be some of the keys elements of the structuring and functionality of this network and will encourage harmonisation of practices.

The participation of the regional reference institutions (WHO Afro, West African health organisations) to these meetings and proceedings will strengthen the sub-regional anchoring of this project et will open up opportunities for future extensions of the projectand network to other neighbouring countries.

Finally, the availability of the GLOBE web portal, will allow the pooling of e-learning modules and other communication, training et information tools (for example a a cartography of network laboratories) and will consitute a complementary support for the animation of the network.

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