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EAC-RNPHRL-CD Project Key Information

Project Title 

EAC Regional Network of Public Health Reference Laboratories for Communicable Diseases (Mobile laboratories)

Project Period 

Start Date: 2017

End Date:  2024

Grant To EAC ($) 

  • Direct grant
  • Total amount = Euros 25 million 

Donor 

German Development Bank – KfW

Project Goal 

To strengthen diagnostic capacities of Partner States National Public Health Reference Laboratories to rapidly detect and respond to Communicable Diseases with potential for cross border outbreaks.

Project Approach 

  • Procure mobile laboratory units, fully equipped,
  • Train laboratory experts as trainers,
  • Procure laboratory reagent and consumables,
  • Provide technical guidance &
  • Harmonize policies, guidelines & procedures

Implementing Agencies and Development Partners 

  • Project Executing Agency (PEA) = EAC Secretariat  
  • Financing partner = German Development Bank (KfW)
  • Implementing partners = Partner State’ National Public Health Reference Laboratories (Total 6)
  • Technical consultant = Bernhard-Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM)
  • Procurement Consultants = GOPA Infra (Phase I) and GFA (Phase II)

Project Objectives 

  • Coordination = EAC Secretariat and Partner States health policies and guidelines laboratory
  • Mapping = of diagnostic capacity gaps and filling the gaps through procurement of equipment, training of health personnel and provision of technical consultancy &
  • Outbreak response = to emergency through field deployments, test procurement and trainings

Project Achievements 

  • Procurement - (9) mobile laboratory units and 18 vehicles and deployment in Partner States,
  • Trainings of experts; 12 laboratory TOTs, 12 bioengineers, IATA (about 70), drivers and ICT experts,
  • Outbreak responses - to Ebola, Rift valley fever, dengue, Covid-19 etc in the EAC Region.
  • Regional coordination - policy dialogues through bi-annual meetings of the Expert Working Group and Regional Steering Committee 
  • EQA Schemes - enrolment of the mobile laboratory network in EQA scheme (INSTAD)

Other Project Activities 

  • Travel and Trade - Facilitation of regional travels and trade - across the EAC borders through strengthening of the Port health diagnosis during COVID-19 Pandemic 
  • Publications - At least two scientific papers e.g., commentary mobile labs for SAR-Cov-2 diagnostics: What Europe could learn from EAC to ensure trade in times of border closures)
  • Regional scientific studies - Partner States on COVID-19 RDT validation and Sequencing studies, among others.

Challenges 

  • EAC Procurement - the EAC procurement process is long and not favorable for emergency responses, - delay in clearing donated items
  • Sustainability and integration - of the mobile laboratories into the existing establishment in some Partner States, in terms of national budgets, health priorities and retention of trained experts

Recommendations

  • Establishment of efficient emergency procurement mechanism for laboratory consumables and diagnostics in the EAC region
  • Expansion strategy and inclusion of DRC with possible procurement of additional mobile laboratory units, training and budget reallocations. 
  • Strategy to fully integrate mobile laboratory framework into the NPHLs, national budgets and health priorities. 

East African Community
EAC Close
Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
Arusha
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac@eachq.org  |  sgoffice@eachq.org