Addressing Social, Cultural and Historical Factors Limiting the Contribution of Medical Laboratory Services to Antenatal Care in West Africa


The aim of the project is to contribute to the achievement of Millennium Development Goal 5 (MDG5) by understanding the factors that undermine effective laboratory services in AnteNatal Care (ANC). The following research question will be addressed: How do practical, organizational, economic, socio-cultural and historical factors contribute to the under-utilization of laboratory diagnostics in ANC in West Africa in general and Senegal in particular?


Despite current efforts and the impressive resources made available, medical laboratories still face major challenges and have a limited contribution to health care delivery, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We postulate that sociocultural and historical factors exist that exacerbate the lack of financial resources and adversely influence the position and functioning of laboratory services on various levels within the medical sector and in society, more generally.


This project examined how organizational, political, sociocultural and historical factors shaped the views of health policymakers and others regarding medical laboratories and how they influence the organization, service delivery and success of current interventions to upscale laboratories in health facilities in Senegal. The programme will use a transdisciplinary approach linking Dutch, Senegalese and French research institutions with local stakeholders to understand the underutilization of laboratory tests in ANC in Senegal.


Read the SoicaLab contribution to Knowledge Translation Network Africa (KTNET Africa) blog (6 July 2015) The Laboratory network in Senegal highlights the SOCIALAB project in their January 2014 newsletter. Click here to read the newsletter (in French, p2). This video highlights the SOCIALAB scientists wearing their knowledge broker hat, to inform policymakers on ways to improve the quality of maternal care and to educate health staff on better practices in terms of ANC testing in Senegal. Watch here (June 2016)

AIGHD Research Lead

Dr Pascale Ondoa


Centre for Social Science and Global Health, University of Amsterdam (Prof Robert Pool)
Direction des Laboratoires, Ministère de la Santé et de l’Action Sociale, Sénégal (Prof Iyane Sow)
Fondation Mérieux, France (Dr Christophe Longuet)
Centre d’Infectiologie Charles Mérieux de Bamako, Mali (Prof Souleymane Diallo)
Direction des Laboratoires, Ministère de la Santé, Burkina Faso (Prof Jean Sakandé)
Institut Pasteur de Dakar, Sénégal (Dr Seck)




Burkina Faso