Kigali, July 5, 2022: World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional office for Africa organised the Afro National Heads of Diagnostic and Laboratory Services Consultation Meeting in Kigali which will go on until July 7th, 2022. The consultation meeting brings together national heads of diagnostics and laboratory units, WHO / AFRO country offices officers in charge of laboratories, AFRO and HQ Clusters and Units representatives, experts, and strategic partners.
The aim of this meeting is to update on the collaboration between the national laboratory units / directorates and the WHO/AFRO on diagnostic and laboratory systems, services as well as challenges in the countries involved.
Dr. Isabelle MUKAGATARE, Head of Department of Biomedical Services said that Rwanda has been selected to host the meeting because it has shown good laboratory operational experience in terms of testing and diagnostic services especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is wonderful that Rwanda is hosting this meeting because it shows how trustworthy we are, especially in terms of diagnosis, we were chosen to share our experience on laboratory networks” said Dr. MUKAGATARE.
In the WHO African Region, many cases of significant illnesses and preventable diseases remain unmanaged because appropriate, good quality diagnostic support is not available at all levels of the health care systems. The Lancet Commission on diagnostics: transforming access to diagnostics recently found that median availability of diagnostics in LMICs was 19,1% in basic primary care facilities, 49,2% in advanced primary care facilities, and 68,4% in hospitals. Though, there is a crucial need to strengthen the access to Diagnostics to contribute to disease surveillance and control as well as clinical management, especially at peripheral level, and to meet the Universal Health Coverage through Primary Health Care
In 2008, during the 58th session of the Regional Committee, WHO/AFRO Member States adopted the Resolution AFR/RC58/R2, which emphasizes the urgent need to strengthen public health laboratories in the African Region at all levels of the health care system. The resolution calls for major investment in strengthening national policy, capacity-building, and infrastructure development to improve contributions of National Health Laboratory Services in patient management, and in disease surveillance, prevention, and control.
Dr. Sheick Oumar COULIBALY, Team Leader, Diagnostics and Laboratory Services Unit at World Health Organisation, Regional Office for Africa, said that this meeting will help African laboratories to build capacity at all levels.
“It is imperative that health laboratories are strengthened to make a vital contribution to
informed decision making.” Said Dr. Coulibaly
This forum will enable participants to share experience and innovations in their countries - including on regulation and legislation, national networks, revitalization of district laboratories amongst others. Moreover, this forum will serve as a platform to agree on short- and medium-term actions and concrete steps to be taken by countries to improve national diagnostics and laboratory services to meet Universal Health Coverage.