EGPAF at the 2016 African Society for Laboratory Medicine Conference
ASLM2016 was the third biennial international conference of the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM). The conference aimed to serve as a platform for the international laboratory medicine community to share best practices, acquire knowledge and debate innovative approaches for combatting global health threats.
The focus areas for the conference were:
- Provide information on the laboratory medicine landscape and needs in Africa
- Increase awareness of opportunities to invest in laboratory medicine amongst private, public and philanthropic donors
- Facilitate networking among participants, particularly for newcomers to African healthcare settings and markets
- Promote the creation of public-private partnerships to ensure further development of both African laboratories and African diagnostics companies
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) presented four posters and co-organized a joint satellite symposium on Implementing Point-of-Care (POC) Technologies for Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) of HIV with UNITAID, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), UNICEF, Médcins Sans Frontières (MSF), the EID Consortium as well as the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
EGPAF’s poster presentations focused on integrating point-of-care technologies into national Early Infant Diagnostics (EID) networks across nine countries where the UNITAID-funded project is active.
While coverage of conventional, laboratory-based early infant diagnosis of HIV (EID) has increased in recent years, access to effective testing could be greatly expanded through the integration of point-of-care testing into national EID networks. Point-of-care (POC) testing has been shown to significantly reduce turnaround times between sample collection and return of test results, and to increase treatment initiation rates. Without early diagnosis and treatment, up to 30% of HIV-infected infants will die before they reach their first birthday.
This symposium focused on lessons learned from pilots and early programmatic experiences that aim to integrate new technologies into existing diagnostic systems, including approaches to strategically select the right facilities and products for POC EID, to plan pilot activities, and to conduct POC EID training programs.