This Component provides targeted support to create and render functional the regional laboratory network . Uganda, working in close collaboration with ECSA-HC, will lead the establishment of the network. It includes three sub-components:

  • Diagnostic Services for Vulnerable Populations in Cross Border Areas

The first sub-component supports five satellite laboratories in each country (and six in Tanzania) to expand access to diagnostic services for vulnerable groups in cross border areas and to serve as sentinel surveillance sites to monitor hot spots for disease transmission. Bank financing will promote a systems approach to laboratory development based on quality management principles and include:

(i) Support for rehabilitation, expansion, and/or construction of laboratories at existing hospitals;

(ii) Provision of laboratory equipment and materials, including waste management equipment and protective gear to ensure the safety of lab personnel;

(iii) Acquisition of computer equipment, software, and technical support for integrated laboratory information systems to improve the quality of data generated and videoconferencing capacity to allow personnel across sites to consult each other and to have access to timely information about disease outbreaks; and

(iv) Provision of operating funds to render the laboratories functional, including strengthening human resources which are the backbone of quality diagnostics.

  • Reference and Specialized Services and Drug Resistance Monitoring

The project will bolster the capacities of the Central Public Health Laboratories in the participating countries and network them to share information, conduct joint training and research, and collaborate in harmonizing policies and strategies.

This process will focus on the TB laboratory functions (which have been relatively neglected), supporting one of the labs to be upgraded to a Supranational Regional Laboratory (SRL).

  • Disease Surveillance and Preparedness

The proposed project will complement ongoing regional and global initiatives to improve Integrated Disease Surveillance
and Response (IDSR) country systems. It will support the IDSR strategic goals to improve availability of quality information by:

(i) strengthening competence of lab and facility personnel to collect, analyze, and use surveillance data;

(ii) reinforcing lab networking and district capacity (particularly those in border areas) to report, investigate, and adequately respond to disease outbreaks; and

(iii) strengthening communications and data sharing to respond rapidly to
outbreaks. Kenya will take a lead in this area and work closely with the EAC health desk to harmonize tools, offer training and technical support, and serve as a center of excellence, documenting and sharing good practices in disease surveillance.