HIV/AIDS laboratory capacity: An Assessment Report of the Capacity of Laboratories to Support HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Programmes in the WHO/AFRO Region:
AbstractThe HIV/AIDS Laboratory Network of the WHO African Region in its 2nd meeting in Accra, Ghana 20-22 November, 2002 requested WHO to conduct an assessment of existing laboratory capacities in Africa with a view to identifying the any competences and gaps. The results of the assessment would be used as an advocacy tool for mobilizing resources to strengthen laboratory services. Subsequent to this meeting an assessment questionnaire was sent out to all countries in the WHO African Region. Over 90% of the countries responded to the questionnaire. This report presents an analysis of the data from the countries that responded. Over 98% of the countries have a National HIV Reference Laboratory. The majority of these (84%) are in the public sector while the rest are affiliated to either universities or research institutions. Over 53% receive more than half of their funding from the public sector. Although 69% of the countries have an action plan for the laboratory there is poor correlation between the plan and the activities on the ground. This is an indication that the plans may not be appropriate to the actual situation in the country. ELISA is mainly used in the public sector (57%) and is limited mainly to the central level (100%) and is little used at district level. The low utilization of ELISA at the periphery is due to its complexity and inappropriateness for this level. In contrast Simple/Rapid assays are increasingly being used in all sectors and all levels but more at district level (54%). This reflects an increased usage of simple assays due to their appropriateness for VCT and PMTCT programmes. The erratic supply of reagents continues to be a major challenge. All countries reported supply interruptions with 55% reporting 1-2 interruptions in a year and the rest 6-8 interruptions. The WHO Bulk Procurement Scheme is introduced in the report and recommended as a remedy to the problem. In 91.9% of the countries the National Reference Laboratory defines the testing algorithm for use. It is however noteworthy that 42%, 50%, 55% of the countries do not follow the recommended WHO testing strategy for blood safety, diagnosis, and surveillance respectively. Western Blot facilities are available in all countries but are limited to one or two laboratories at the central level. These are mainly used (83%) for HIV confirmatory testing.
World Health Organization. Regional Office for Africa. (2008). HIV/AIDS laboratory capacity: An Assessment Report of the Capacity of Laboratories to Support HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Programmes in the WHO/AFRO Region:. World Health Organization. Regional Office for Africa. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/204556
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HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases : report of the second WHO Strategic Planning Meeting on HIV/AIDS and STD, WHO Headquarters, Geneva, 15-17 October 1996 WHO Strategic Planning Meeting on HIV/AIDS and STD (2nd: 1996 : Geneva, Switzerland); World Health Organization. Office of HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (ASD/96.2, 1996)