As part of the REDISSE project, funded by the World Bank, the West African Health Organization (WAHO) assigned the Mérieux Foundation and the Center for International Cooperation in Health and Development to establish 47 Epidemiological Surveillance Centers and to:
- bolster the diagnostic testing skills of laboratory managers,
- improve the epidemiological surveillance and response capacity of district laboratories.
The one-year mandate enabled the Mérieux Foundation to carry out the technical assessment of 47 district laboratories and organize training for more than 160 health personnel. The foundation also organized External Quality Assessment and laboratory supervision to ensure the training is put into practice. Maintenance plans have been recommended to each country in order to sustainably strengthen the health centers.
The restitution workshops took stock of the project’s successes and challenges, and provided recommendations to the project stakeholders (national authorities, WAHO, CCISD, the Mérieux Foundation, national REDISSE team) to make the newly implemented Epidemiological Surveillance Centers (ESC) operate sustainably.
The workshops, jointly organized by the foundation and the CCISD, brought together the laboratory managers, ESC surveillance managers, training teams, laboratory directors, epidemiological surveillance directors and the director general of health for each country involved in the project. The REDISSE coordinator from each country, the WAHO, the World Bank, the WHO, the OIE, and the CDC were also invited.
The workshops highlighted the need for continued collaboration between surveillance centers and laboratories, as part of health systems strengthening. The organization of more joint activities will promote better communication between these two domains to ensure the sustainable functioning of the Epidemiological Surveillance Centers.
The mandate of the Mérieux Foundation and CCISD comes to an end for this part of the project, but REDISSE coordination in the countries will take over to keep up the momentum of support for ESCs.