PERFAR and BD Make Progress in Africa
The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PERFAR) and Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) have made progress in improving laboratory conditions and skills of lab personnel battling against HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) in sub-Saharan Africa.
PERFAR is the implementing agency for strengthening lab systems and BD is a global medical technology company. Together their lab strengthening program is part of a 5-year initiative designed to targets healthcare systems in countries seriously impacted by HIV/AIDS.
Their collaboration, which began in 2007, includes working on ground to develop lab systems and services, improving lab diagnostics critical to HIV/AIDS management, creating guidelines and supervisory tools for rapid testing, strengthening TB reference sites and improving TB diagnostics access.
Training programs have already been conducted in Uganda, South Africa and Mozambique, where the TB prevalence ranges from 426 to 692 infections per 100,000 people and HIV/AIDS rates range from 2.1 to 23.9 percent.
In Uganda, 94 healthcare workers have participated in the training sessions where they learned about management in lab settings. Over the course of the training period, the lab worker's test scores increased an average 35 percent prior to training to 88 percent, a 151 percent improvement.
In South Africa, 22 microbiologists participated in a 10-day course to improve their ability to detect mycobacterium TB. The microbiologists were introduced to liquid culture testing systems that identify forms of TB faster than traditional methods.
In Mozambique, healthcare workers received phlebotomy training and quality management and lab capability training.
BD is working with Ministries of Health, National Reference Laboratories and other partners in these three regions to continue to expand lab services.