ASLM Harps On Diagnostic Gap, Partners Africa CDC

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Kuni Tyessi, Abuja

The African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) has partnered Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention towards closing the gap and advancing diagnostic initiative in the continent.

This partnership was made through the launch of the Africa Collaborative Initiative to Advance Diagnostics (AFCAD) during the fourth biennial international conference of the ASLM in Abuja, with the theme ‘Next pandemic: The role of the laboratory’.

Chairperson of ASLM Board of Directors, Prof. Alash’le Abimiku, stated that there was still a lot more to be done, hence the need for collaborative effort.

She said: “When we had the Ebola crisis in Africa, one major challenge laboratory experts had was the time spent in getting the samples tested.

“Sometimes, it took up to four weeks just for blood samples to get tested because they had to be taken to Germany. But with this new initiative, regulations will be accelerated to facilitate timely and wider access to essential diagnostics.”

She also stated that the conference was an avenue to discuss issues that have to do with getting a healthier Africa and with emphasis at ensuring that laboratories are doing the work that is standardised.

The Head of Laboratory Division, Africa Centre for Disease Control, Yenew Kebede, in his own address, said Universal Health Coverage was a priority for African countries to attain inclusive and sustainable growth, noting that many diseases remain undiagnosed due to poor diagnostic capacity.

According to him, “the limited access to essential tests and slow introduction of innovative technologies result in insufficient disease case finding and hampers access to treatment.

“Barriers to diagnostics prevent the African continent from becoming free of epidemic-prone diseases and compromise the achievement of the health agenda of the African Union.”