Senegal hosts the first Advanced Course on Diagnostics in French on the African continent (Afro-ACDx)
The first edition of the Advanced Course on Diagnostics in French on the African continent co-organized by the Mérieux Foundation and the Institut Pasteur of Dakar was held from November 21 to 26, in Saly, Senegal.
29 participants from 15 French-speaking African countries gathered for a week to exchange with global experts on the role and value of medical diagnostics, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This edition of the Afro-ACDx course gathered laboratory directors and professionals but also managers in charge of critical decisions-making in the field of public health diagnostics in Africa.
Co-directed by Prof. Jean Sakandé from the Mérieux Foundation and Dr. Amadou Alpha Sall from the Institut Pasteur of Dakar, the course was based on the Global Laboratory Leadership Programme (GLLP) of WHO, and on the program of the Advanced Course on Diagnostics (ACDx), organized by the Mérieux Foundation and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine every year in France for 10 years. The COVID-19 pandemic was used as a guideline for the part dedicated to diagnostics.
“The pandemic has put the laboratory and its staff back at the heart of the health system. By strengthening the technical capacities and leadership of laboratory directors, the Afro-ACDx course meets the current and future needs of French-speaking African countries.” said Professor Jean Sakandé of the Mérieux Foundation and Dr. Amadou Alpha Sall of the Institut Pasteur of Dakar.
By the end of the course, participants had strengthened their skills of leadership and laboratory management based on the GLLP by addressing the following themes: qualities required in a leader, self-knowledge and team incentive, critical thinking and problem solving within the laboratory, decision making and change management before discussing the organizational structure of a laboratory.
The part of the program related to the ACDx course highlighted the critical role of diagnostics, taking into account the position of the laboratory in the health pyramid, the importance of implementing a quality management system and accreditation in order to offer quality diagnostic tests to contribute to better patient care. Round tables and workshops were also organized to present concepts of technological and social innovation. Participants were able to exchange with their peers on laboratory networks in Africa. “The Mérieux Foundation is proud to fight for a cause that unites us, biology in Africa, and more generally public health, and we will always be by your side.” Alain Mérieux, President of The Mérieux Foundation, concluded to the course participants.
The organization of this course in French, in Africa, and in a “One Health” context with representatives of both human and animal health is really one of the course key of success. This first edition met an identified need for training in Francophone Africa and its success makes it possible to consider holding a second edition in 2022.
Since the beginning of the health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the critical role of diagnostics in the management of epidemics has been highlighted more than ever.
Based on their expertise, the Merieux Foundation and Institut Pasteur of Dakar co-organized the first Advanced Course on Diagnostics in French on the African continent (Afro-ACDx). This course aims to improve the leadership skills of laboratory managers and to promote the role and value of medical diagnostics, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Afro-ACDx thus seeks to strengthen the local capacity of medical biology laboratories in West and Central Africa through education and partnership development. It is intended for laboratory directors or managers and professionals in charge of making critical decisions in the field of public health diagnostics in Africa.
The Scientific and Pedagogical Committee of the course is composed of representatives from the following institutions: 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 (OIE), the Institut National de la Recherche Biomédicale (INRB), the Institut Pasteur, the West African Health Organization (WAHO), the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), the West African Network of Biomedical Analysis Laboratories (RESAOLAB), the medical biologist, Prof. Souleymane Diallo, Bio 24 Laboratory Senegal, and the Mérieux Foundation.