EDCTP Regional Networks of Excellence: Laboratory accreditation

Many institutions in sun-Saharan Africa lack research laboratories that are Good Clinical and Laboratory Practice (GCLP) compliant. Implementation of clinical research compliant with international standards requires such research to be conducted in sites with robust and cutting-edge infrastructure that can support high-quality research outputs.

In 2012, EDCTP initiated a laboratory strengthening project targeted towards selected laboratories within the four Regional NoE. This activity was funded as part of the EDCTP programme, EDCTP-Plus project, that bridged the first and second EDCTP programmes and aimed to systematically develop 24 NoE clinical research and public health laboratories towards internationally recognised accreditation.

The WHO-AFRO Stepwise Laboratory Improvement Process Towards Accreditation (SLIPTA) was used to benchmark and thereafter develop the selected laboratories towards accreditation. The chosen laboratories are located in 18 sub-Saharan African countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, The Gambia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

After the completion of the benchmarking audit using the SLIPTA scale, the following network laboratories successfully achieved ISO 15189 accreditation:

  • CHU A Le Dantec, Senegal
  • MRC The Gambia, The Gambia
  • KEMRI/CDC (Kisian Campus), Kenya
  • MRC–UVRI, Uganda
  • Fundação Manhiça, Mozambique

These accredited laboratories are now able to globally compete towards securing future funding and attracting internationally recognised standard research projects requiring reliable and high-quality laboratories.

The networks continue to build on this work by progressing towards developing additional laboratories towards accreditation.