Supporting diagnostic capacity in mobile laboratories in the East African Community.

Emerging infectious diseases with epidemic potential in sub-Saharan Africa pose a massive public health and socioeconomic burden. Recent outbreaks such as the Ebola epidemic in West Africa or the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic demonstrate the need for preparedness and rapid response to such outbreaks. In collaboration with the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM), the East African Community (EAC) is implementing a project funded by the German government through KfW Entwicklungsbank to build a sustainable mobile laboratory infrastructure in East Africa. This project will utilize a total of nine mobile laboratories in the EAC partner states of Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan. Mechanisms for robust diagnostic and surveillance support systems will be established in participating countries to enable rapid cross-border response to disease epidemics. BNITM will provide technical advice on the establishment of mobile laboratories and build regional capacity to operate these laboratories through structured training phases. In addition, molecular diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2 will now be established in eight institutions in 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Nigeria and Tanzania).

Project coordination: Prof. Jürgen May
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Development and Economic Cooperation (BMZ), (KfW)