Senegal welcomes major West African experts in clinical biology: 4th International Steering Committee of West African Laboratory Network of Biomedical Analysis Laboratories

Some 70 participants, including the leading figures in clinical biology of Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, are gathering in Dakar in Senegal, January 18-20 for the 4th International Steering Committee of the West African laboratory network of biomedical analysis laboratories (RESAOLAB). They are sharing their results in fighting against epidemics and improving laboratory services.

RESAOLAB is an innovative network whose goal is to increase vulnerable populations’ access to diagnostics within West Africa. This annual meeting is held under the high authority of Ms. Awa Marie Coll Seck, Minister of Health of Senegal, with participants including the Cabinet Director at the Ministry of Health of Senegal, Dr. Iyane Sow, Director of Laboratories in Senegal, a representative of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) for Senegal and Dr. François-Xavier Babin, Director of International Development of Fondation Mérieux.

The event will allow members to draw up a review of 2016 results and to ensure optimal coordination and management of the network. During joint workshops between RESAOLAB and WARDS (West African Regional Disease Surveillance), participants will share the progress of their projects on topics such as collecting and transmitting epidemiological data to reinforce disease surveillance and accelerate outbreak response, training, sample collection and transport, and antimicrobial resistance which is a growing public health threat.

As a member of RESAOLAB since 2009, Senegal has created a National Direction for Laboratories and has benefited from the renovation of continuous training centers in Kaolack, Kolda and Saint-Louis, as well as the construction of a new National Laboratory for Public Health in Thiès. Initial and continuous training of laboratory personnel has been reinforced, with 33 training sessions set up and 22 scholarships given for a degree in biology. In order to improve laboratory services, 118 laboratories were supervised as part of a national quality plan and 15 laboratories are currently testing a new computerized system of data management.


This inter-country West African laboratory network was launched in 2009 by Fondation Mérieux in collaboration with the ministers of Health of Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal. Four new countries joined the network in 2013: Benin, Guinea, Niger and Togo. The program is made possible thanks to the support of Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Islamic Development Bank, International Cooperation of the Principality of Monaco, Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Fondation Mérieux. The World Health Organization and the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) collaborate on the program.

Improving the health of populations is dependent upon the quality of the clinical biology laboratory system and the services it provides.

RESAOLAB is the first regional program to address this public health issue. Developed with West African healthcare experts, it takes into account all of the factors that affect the governance and performance of laboratories.

RESAOLAB est le premier programme régional qui apporte une réponse à cette problématique de santé publique. Conçu avec les acteurs de santé ouest-africains, il prend en compte l’ensemble des facteurs qui affectent la gouvernance et la performance des laboratoires.

It focuses on 6 key objectives:

  • improve laboratory services by setting up a standardized quality system;
  • strengthen initial and continuing training for laboratory staff;
  • establish a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) in the network’s main laboratories;
  • reinforce national systems for purchasing, maintenance and management of laboratories;
  • contribute to increasing funding for laboratory systems;
  • improve regional and national governance of laboratory systems.


  • Over 700 public and private laboratories in the network and under supervision in 7 countries
  • More than 800 lab technicians trained in over 100 training sessions
  • 45 laboratories equipped with a laboratory information management system (LIMS) to support epidemiological surveillance
  • A skills development program including 14 training modules
  • More than 25 continuous training centers built or in design phase in 7 countries
  • More than 200 laboratories with an external quality control program


The World Bank’s Africa Catalytic Growth Fund (ACGF) has provided funding of $10 million to support the deployment of the West African Regional Disease Surveillance (WARDS). The ECOWAS has contributed an additional $1.5 million for a total project budget of $11.5 million.

The project, which aims to improve disease surveillance and response in the 15 ECOWAS member states, launched its activities in March 2014 with the recruitment of a team of coordinators and the signature of contracts with six partners (WHO, Centre for International Cooperation in Health and Development (CCISD), University of Oslo, University of Ghana, CDC Foundation and Fondation Mérieux). WARDS seeks to establish, equip and ensure the functioning of 60 epidemiological surveillance centers.

WARDS a pour objectif de mettre en place, outiller et rendre fonctionnels 60 Centres Epidémiologiques de Surveillance (CSE) au niveau des districts dans les 15 pays.

Fondation Mérieux is coordinating the laboratory component and providing its expertise and technical support to improve the skills of laboratory professionals in all of the ECOWAS countries.


Jean-Louis Machuron
Phone: +33 6 11 45 03 59
Email: Send an e-mail

Lorene Ladan Fofana
Phone: + 221 77 86 30 598
Email: Send an e-mail

Josette El-Pellet Najjar
Phone: +33 6 60 38 73 20
Email: Send an e-mail

Koren Wolman-Tardy
Phone: +33 6 13 94 51 14
Email: Send an e-mail