Clockwise from left to right: Lucy Maryogo-Robinson, APHL director of global health; Ralph Timperi, APHL senior advisor of laboratory practice and management; Dr. Isatta Wurie, APHL senior consultant and public health laboratory specialist; Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah, Sierra Leone health and sanitation minister; Scott Becker, APHL executive director; Dr. Alpha Diallo, APHL consultant; Paul Jankauskas, APHL global health manager, Ebola.
APHL is providing technical assistance to strengthen Sierra Leone’s laboratory system in collaboration with the country’s Ministry of Health Services (MOHS) and National AIDS Secretariat. The initiative expands APHL’s long-standing commitment to laboratory capacity building in Sierra Leone. Support for the initiative will be provided through the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and an Ebola project.
In October, an APHL team led by Executive Director Scott Becker travelled to Sierra Leone to confer with senior health officials and other African colleagues about the project and laboratory capacity building across the continent. Meetings with the Minister of Health and Sanitation and Chief Medical Officer, tours of the Central Public Health Reference Laboratory and a BSL-3 facility, and two days of meetings with the African Society of Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) partners were all on the tightly-scheduled itinerary.
Multiple action steps emerged from the series of meetings. APHL will assist Sierra Leone’s MOHS and National AIDS Secretariat with:
Strategic Planning: Working with the CDC Division of Global HIV/AIDS, APHL will guide development of the new National Laboratory Strategic Plan to ensure that national surveillance strategy is prominently captured in the document linking epidemiology and laboratory services.
Training & Mentoring: APHL will train and mentor Central Public Health Reference Laboratory (CPHRL) staff in testing methods and quality systems to increase the volume and range of testing and build a team of skilled laboratory scientists who can support reference testing and training for MOHS laboratories.
Laboratory Management & Accreditation: APHL will support development of laboratory management at the CPHRL and guide the institution toward accreditation via goal assessment, training and mentoring.
Laboratory Infrastructure: APHL will complete renovations needed at the CPHRL.
Beyond the borders of Sierra Leone, APHL will continue to work with ASLM to develop an integrated, cross-continental system of laboratory networks under the auspices of the GHSA.
For more information, contact Lucy Maryogo-Robinson, director, Global Health, 240.485.2770,