Workshop on Ebola diagnostics

The Amsterdam Institute for Global health and Development co-organized an important workshop on the diagnostics of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), which was held in Dakar, Senegal from 9-13 March 2015. The workshop ‘Ebola diagnostics : Networking for Capacity strengthening and Ebola preparedness’ was hosted by the Institut Pasteur de Dakar  Other organizing partners were the African Society of Laboratory Medicine (ASLM), the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), the World Health Organization (WHO)-AFRO, the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), and the Fondation Mérieux. 
The aims of the workshop were:
– To reinforce the diagnostic capacity for EVD in West African countries affected by or surrounding the EVD outbreak.
– To introduce participants to the GOARN network of WHO, which deploys experts on outbreaks sites worldwide, and to encourage participants to join the network. Virtual exercises of field deployment were organized.
– To initiate the implementation of a network involving public health and reference laboratories. The network is anticipated to guarantee the continuity and the optimization of efforts for EVD preparedness in particular, as well as for all other epidemic diseases threatening global health and under the International Health Regulation (IHR).

Fourteen virologists and laboratory in-charges from 11 francophone and one lusophone countries from West, North and Central Africa attended the workshop: Senegal, Tunisia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Mali, Togo and Morocco.
Dr Pascale Ondoa, Dr Constance Schultsz from AIGHD, as well as Dr Linda Oskam from KIT (Royal Tropical Institute, AIGHD partner) specifically contributed to the workshop through their expertise in laboratory system strengthening, laboratory quality assessment, and the building of laboratory network for the surveillance of dangerous pathogens such as antimicrobial resistant bacteria.

AIGHD and KIT join in the follow-up activities aiming to identify current gaps in preparedness for the control of dangerous pathogens of laboratory systems in sub Saharan Africa, and to propose corrective actions. This will be the first step of the ASLM coordinated program to implement a pan-African network of public health and reference laboratories allowing a global response to disease outbreaks and supporting the development of national laboratory networks.