The 1st assessment of biomedical analysis laboratories in Haiti is presented today at the Kinam Hotel, under the high authority of the Ministry of Public Health and Population. Mr. Vincent Degert, European Union Ambassador to Haiti, Mrs. Elisabeth Beton Delègue, French Ambassador to Haiti, Dr. Jacques Boncy, Director of the National Public Health Laboratory (LNSP), Dr. Paul Adrien, Director of the Department of Laboratory and Research Epidemiology (DELR), Dr. Stalz Charles Vilbrun of the Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections (GHESKIO) and Mr. Benoît Miribel, Director General of Fondation Mérieux, as well as representatives from WHO, the U.S. CDC and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) will also be among the participants. This analysis is the first result of the SPHaïtiLAB project, designed by the LNSP as part of the Ministry of Public Health and Population’s ambitious plan to reinforce the country’s laboratory sector.
On the occasion of this presentation, the European Union Ambassador to Haiti, Vincent Degert, declared: “The European Union is proud to support this initiative for which it has mobilized a 1,432,000 euro funding package. This project is very timely to help improve epidemiological surveillance, an essential part of a health system.” He went on to add: “Health, like education, is the measure of a country’s human development. We hope that this project, by supporting the country’s main stakeholders in health and laboratory policy, will effect real change in the prevention of disease and help fulfill the legitimate aspiration of each and every Haitian to benefit fully from the well-being and harmony that good health brings.”
The laboratory plays a vital role, giving doctors the information they need to provide good patient care. It is also an essential tool for the surveillance of epidemics. SPHaïtiLAB aims to improve the health of the Haitian population by providing analysis and strategic advice on laboratory and research policy. Funded by the European Union, the project is led by the LNSP in partnership with the DELR, the GHESKIO Centers and the African Institute of Public Health (IASP) of Burkina Faso. Fondation Mérieux manages the project and provides financial support.
In 2015, SPHaïtiLAB launched an analysis of the situation of laboratories in Haiti that will serve as the basis for recommendations targeted to meet the country’s specific needs, based on data collected in the field. The study was conducted in 30 laboratories, including department laboratories and community and university hospital laboratories, across the country. The study was performed by two teams, comprised of external assessors from the IASP and the LNSP, accompanied by technicians from the participating departments. It covered, in particular, laboratory infrastructures, human resources and management.
The study’s data is being analyzed by Prof. Jean Sakandé, a quality expert and consultant for the IASP, who implemented a similar project in Burkina Faso. The data shows the main strengths of a National Laboratory Network that is functioning with laboratories available throughout the country and a well-organized supply system. The study offers some ideas for future development in the areas of quality, training and epidemiological surveillance. These conclusions will form the basis for a national laboratory policy, which will make it possible to implement a training plan for laboratory personnel, external quality control, infrastructure and equipment standards, a purchasing policy and waste management. The objective of such a policy is to ensure the quality of biomedical analyses and the optimal performance of laboratories in the interest of public health in Haiti.
In parallel, SPHaïtiLAB has initiated an evaluation of how research projects are set up in the country. A report in 2017 will present the results of this evaluation and inform recommendations for the development of a national research policy.
Conducted over a five-year period (2015-2019), SPHaïtiLAB has four key stages, with the laboratory situation assessment as its first milestone:
Assess the situation of laboratories and implementation of research projects
Issue strategic recommendations for the creation of national policies for laboratories and research
Reinforce human resources at the National Public Health Laboratory (LNSP) through the recruitment of specialized personnel and training
Pool resources and expertise within the health sector to ensure the development of the National Laboratory Network (RNL)
SPHaïtiLAB is part of the European Union’s “Supporting Public Health Institutes Programme”. Since 2015, it has supported seven other projects to strengthen the capacities of selected schools of public health throughout the world (Bangladesh, Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Laos, Myanmar, Uganda), thereby providing national health authorities and stakeholders with evidence-based and locally adapted policy advice, training and other support to feed decision- and policy-making and to monitor implementation at national or sub national level.
About the National Public Health Laboratory (LNSP)
The National Public Health Laboratory (LNSP), established in 2006, is the reference laboratory for the National Laboratory Network. Its mission is to further the development of the National Laboratory Network and to participate, in collaboration with the Department of Laboratory and Research Epidemiology (DELR) and universities, in the conception and implementation of public health research activities, epidemiological surveillance and early health warning systems. It is a key player in the public health sector that establishes ties between public health research, policy development, training, disease diagnosis and surveillance.
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