Posted on 31 Mar, 2020 by Nehle Frerick

The KfW funded project Strengthening epidemiological services and health systems in the ECOWAS region, implemented by GFA in coordination with the West African Health Organization (WAHO), contributes to a strengthened regional laboratory network in West Africa, not only since the Covid-19 pandemic.The project has been in place since July 2018 focusing on capacity building in the area of disease surveillance and prevention as well as epidemiology and emergency response within ECOWAS.

“Training laboratory experts in preparing, conducting and interpreting tests is one of the most important ways in which German development cooperation can currently assist countries across Africa in responding to the pandemic”, says Dr. Olivier Manigart, GFA Senior Team Leader of the KfW project at WAHO.

Manigart and his team are based at the WAHO office in Burkina Faso, the West African nation that has become the worst affected by the novel Corona Virus in the region so far. The project has been working with the WAHO Department of Public Health and Research to strengthen the capacities of 11 regional reference laboratories around West Africa, providing them with the necessary equipment and training the staff to ensure that they provide reliable results when it comes to detecting infectious disease outbreaks. Through this work, a network of reference laboratories with trained laboratory experts was already in place when the new virus started to spread.

Together with Senegal's Pasteur Institute , WAHO with the support of the project team organized a three-day training workshop for 24 laboratory experts from 18 countries in late February on COVID19 diagnosis. “All of the participants received a kit with 100 tests, swabs for sampling and viral transport medium to take back to their countries” says Manigart.

Read a detailed article on the website HealthyDEvelopments from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

> Interview with Dr. Olivier Manigart, GFA Senior Team Leader: FRENCH | ENGLISCH

> Interview with Dr. Manigart in French on "La Libre Afrique"  

> Project in brief