COVID-19 ECHO Session #39: Outcomes, Successes and Lessons

March 23, 2021

On 17 March, 2021 this COVID-19 ECHO session was convened to discuss outcomes, successes and lessons from implementing emergency SARS-CoV-2 external quality assessment proficiency testing in Africa. The African Joint taskforce on Coronavirus (AFTCOR) guidance objective 2 under Laboratory diagnosis is to ensure quality-assured testing for COVID-19 diagnosis, and strengthening reference laboratories and laboratory networks for specimen referral testing and quality assurance, including inter-laboratory comparison and proficiency testing. To ensure quality is maintained across the testing cascade, and with the expansion of COVID-19 testing to the sub-national levels in the quest to meet the demand for testing in several countries, Africa Centres for Disease Prevention and Control (Africa CDC), African Society For Laboratory Medicine (ASLM), and partners implemented an expanded quality assurance program for COVID-19 beyond the national reference laboratories to the lower-tier laboratories at the subnational level in selected Africa Union Member States. This session discusses outcomes, successes, and lessons learned from the implementation of the SARS-CoV-2 external quality assessment (EQA) proficiency testing (PT) program across the African continent. Dr Marguerite Masinga Loembe, Senior Laboratory Advisor at ASLM, discusses the overall objectives and implementation of the EQA program. Dr Jean-Frederic Flandin, Program Manager at One World Accuracy (1WA), an EQA provider based in Vancouver Canada, shares the preparation, distribution, analysis, and performance of the EQA PT program. Dr Amina Al-Mayé Bit Younouss, Quality Manager at Laboratoire National de Santé Publique, MINSANTE, Cameroon, shares the country experience on the PT program. Please follow the links posted here to view the recorded video session on ASLM’s YouTube channel, and download the presentations made during the session.