The 2014 Ebola virus disease epidemic, which spread in West African countries, particularly affected Guinea. This major health crisis revealed an urgent need to strengthen the surveillance of diseases with epidemic potential in Guinea and to build capacities for a better response to future threats.
The project’s objective is to establish a national surveillance system for viral hemorrhagic fever syndromes in Guinea.
This system is based on the country’s medical biology laboratories and aims to enable the safe transport of biological samples to reference laboratories for a rapid and reliable diagnosis.
LAB-NET is a first step towards strengthening the laboratory sector and epidemiological surveillance in Guinea. The project is part of a broader effort to strengthen capacities after the Ebola crisis and includes other projects which strengthen the laboratory sector such as RESAOLAB.
Experts from France and the sub-region are conducting assessments. The participating laboratories and results obtained will be monitored by Guinean biologists and technicians with support from international technical assistants.
LAB-NET is funded by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, implemented in Guinea by Fondation Mérieux and Institut Pasteur and overseen by Expertise France.
Evaluations for traditional medical analysis laboratories are conducted by teams of national and international experts in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, with the goal of determining the needs in this healthcare sector and mapping laboratory infrastructures. The evaluation is performed using a form that ensures standardized data collection. Preliminary results are regularly shared with key healthcare stakeholders in Guinea.
Following this assessment, Fondation Mérieux will provide support and expertise to the Ministry of Health and the National Pharmacy and Laboratory Directorate to outline a national medical biology policy and action plan for national health authorities and international partners. The main challenges will be the creation of an official system for sending biological samples to the reference center, developing quality control and a training program.
As part of LAB-NET, kits with personal protective equipment and secure sample collection boxes will be made available to sentinel laboratories. Coordinated with other programs such as RESAOLAB, laboratory personnel will receive training, especially for biosafety.
The LAB-NET project also plans to strengthen clinical biology laboratory equipment and material in Guinea to increase their autonomy.
A mapping of Guinean laboratories with their different levels of expertise
A needs assessment for infrastructures to perform biological testing that follows biosafety rules
A secure and optimized system for sending samples between laboratories for surveillance of priority pathogens in Guinea
An operational plan for the network of surveillance laboratories is established with local healthcare stakeholders and proposed to local authorities
A communication system that functions is proposed for the laboratory network and health system
Laboratory personnel capacities are strengthened in the areas of EVD-like infections and biosafety standards
Diagnostic laboratory personnel capacities are strengthened to provide first-line differential diagnosis
A quality assurance system is initiated in Guinea
Laboratory personnel analyzing potentially dangerous samples are protected
Laboratories have the equipment needed to send potentially dangerous samples to reference laboratories
Following the assessment, additional equipment needs are identified and fulfilled for the laboratories with the greatest need
Standard Operating Procedures are in place to improve the operations of reference laboratories
A training infrastructure is established, specialized in laboratory techniques and research practices.
Duration: 24 months