First Technical Staff Meeting between ASLM and Africa CDC
The first meeting of technical staff from the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) was held at the ASLM headquarters offices on 31 July 2017. The purpose of the meeting was to update all parties on the expansion of the Stepwise Laboratory Quality Improvement Process Towards Accreditation (SLIPTA) program, progress with the joint Laboratory Mapping project and other collaboration activities. Participants included Dr. Ali Elbireer, CEO of ASLM; Prof. Li Han, Consultant at Africa CDC; Ms. Herilinda Temba, Epidemiologist at Africa CDC; Ms. Akhona Tshangela, Epidemiologist at Africa CDC; Mr. Donewell Bangure, Epidemiologist and SLIPTA Independent Advisory Group at Africa CDC; Dr. Amha Kebede, Program Manager and Coordinator for the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) projects at ASLM; Dr. Aytenew Ashenafi, Program Manager at ASLM; and Mr. Teferi Mekonen, Program Manager and SLIPTA Coordinator at ASLM.
A number of important points were agreed to with regard to SLIPTA. Among these, it was agreed that Africa CDC will invite ASLM to join the North African Regional Collaborating Centers meeting. This is a two-day meeting taking place 25-26 September 2017 in Cairo, Egypt to discuss the framework of collaboration and networking to enhance public health practice in the North Africa sub-region. ASLM will give a presentation on SLIPTA and quality management systems as part of the partners’ session of the meeting program. Additionally, Africa CDC will introduce the ASLM team to the Laboratory Focal Person for the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean to pave the way for the expansion of SLIPTA in the North African countries.
With regard to the Laboratory Mapping project, both sides agreed to revise the assessment tool for easy administration. In addition, the importance of engaging private laboratory associations was emphasized. Most endeavors to date have targeted only laboratories in the public sector. Thus, involving such associations would increase the acceptability and accessibility of mapping to the private laboratories and help to close the information gap.
“This meeting is a great beginning for an important partnership,” said ASLM CEO, Dr. Ali Elbireer. “Establishing active, working relationships between technical staff at both organizations will allow ASLM and Africa CDC to leverage each other’s strengths and increase the effectiveness of both their efforts to improve the health of all Africans across the continent.”
The next meeting will be hosted at the Africa CDC offices in September 2017.
By: Mr. Teferi Mekonen, ASLM
Editors: Ms. Bethanie Rammer, ASLM