Senegal hosts people working in diagnostics in Africa for the third edition of the Afro-ACDx course

The advanced course on diagnostics in French-speaking African countries, organized by the Mérieux Foundation and the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, was held in Saly, Senegal, from November 19 to 24, 2023.

Participants from the course standing on grass with trees on both sides
Afro-ACDx participants in Saly (Senegal)

This new edition of the course welcomed 31 participants from 12 French-speaking African countries to enhance their diagnostic and leadership skills in laboratories. The training week was part of a One Health approach combining human health with animal and environmental contexts.

The Afro-ACDx course aims to form a link between the international ACDx course, organized every year in English at the Les Pensières Center in France, and the GLLP program (Global Laboratory Leadership Program), which provides a training module on leadership.

Comprising nine sessions led by experts in the field, some of whom were from the Mérieux Foundation, the course dealt with the following topics:

  • The role of laboratory diagnosis and a presentation of the GLLP program
  • The key roles and the organization of laboratories
  • Leadership: self-awareness and motivation
  • Long-term programs and actions to combat antimicrobial resistance
  • Critical thinking and problem solving in laboratories
  • Decision-making and change management
  • Access to diagnosis to combat epidemics
  • The organizational structure of a laboratory and its stakeholders
  • A review of key skills in diagnostic laboratories and governance in Africa to facilitate access to diagnosis

The participants also visited the African Center for Resilience to Epidemics (CARE) and several production and analysis sites at the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, the joint organizer of the course.

Links have been established between graduates from the course in order to create a community of alumni. Some of last year’s participants joined this year’s Afro-ACDx course to share details of what they have achieved in terms of laboratory organization and team management after graduating from the course. At the same time, they were also able to benefit from advanced leadership training.

The Afro-ACDx training course was a great experience and it was a pleasure for me to be able to participate in this third edition. I had the opportunity to talk with laboratory managers from French-speaking African countries, leaders of influential networks such as RESAOLAB, trainers on the subject of antimicrobial resistance, experts from the Mérieux Foundation, the WHO, the Insitut Pasteur and many other international organizations. This will allow me to enhance collaboration and partnerships in order to develop new continuing professional development programs.

This training course helped me gain a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges facing laboratory systems in French-speaking Africa, as well as international, regional and national policies for developing laboratory systems and the key role played by laboratory services in healthcare systems. The quality of the experts and discussions and the various teaching methods, alternating between presentations, teamwork and round table discussions, ensured that the training course was really interesting. 

“I was able to develop my leadership skills with training and discussions based on the Global Laboratory Leadership Program.  Following on from this training course, a network of professionals is being set up with more opportunities to share experiences and scientific projects.”

Josiane Brou, one of the participants from the Ivory Coast

About Afro-ACDx

The idea behind the Afro-ACDx course, launched in 2021, is to improve the leadership skills of laboratory managers and to promote the role and value of medical diagnosis. Afro-ACDx aims to reinforce the local capacity of biomedical analysis laboratories in West and Central Africa through training and the development of partnerships. It is geared towards laboratory directors and managers, and managers in charge of critical decision-making in the field of diagnosis in public health in Africa.

The program for the course and the selection of participants are the responsibility of a scientific committee made up of the biggest institutions involved in diagnosis in Africa: the World Health Organization (WHO), WHO/AFRO, Africa CDC, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH), the French National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB), Institut Pasteur, the West African Health Organization (WAHO), Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), the West African Network of Biomedical Analysis Laboratories (RESAOLAB), and private analysis laboratories in Africa.