Co-organized by Fondation Mérieux and the World Health Organization, the Global Laboratory Initiative (GLI) Partner meeting was held 15-18 April, at Fondation Mérieux’s Les Pensières conference centre. It convened over 140 participants, including foremost experts and key stakeholders in the areas of tuberculosis diagnostics and laboratory capacity building.
Solutions for increasing access to diagnostics
The goal of the meeting was to bring together representatives from global agencies, international technical and funding partners, research organizations, non-governmental agencies, country-level tuberculosis (TB) control programs, the TB Supranational Reference Laboratory network, and patient communities to find solutions for increasing access to diagnostics within quality laboratory services for better TB control.
The meeting focused on emerging science in the field of tuberculosis and developments within the GLI network. Current projects were discussed, such as the rollout of Xpert® MTB/RIF, a new test for Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) and resistance to rifampicin. Policy guidance on TB diagnostics, laboratory biosafety and accreditation were among the topics covered as well as the TB diagnostics pipeline and potential impact of new technologies on laboratory strengthening efforts. The need to scale up technical assistance to countries to strengthen laboratory networks was also highlighted.
About the GLI
The GLI provides a multi-faceted yet integrated approach to laboratory capacity strengthening in the field of tuberculosis. The GLI is comprised of a network of international partners dedicated to accelerating and expanding access to quality-assured laboratory services to address the diagnostic challenges of tuberculosis, notably, HIV-associated and drug-resistant TB. Scaling up laboratory services to meet these challenges requires a paradigm shift in laboratory development policy, setting laboratory standards, guiding and coordinating technical assistance, and accelerating knowledge transfer.
Membership of the GLI has continued to grow and more than 100 international partners have joined forces. The GLI works closely with national TB programs, nongovernmental organizations, technical and financial agencies, scientific and academic institutions, and WHO offices, at country and regional levels, to strengthen TB laboratory services.