Welcome to the website of the Global Laboratory Initiative (GLI)
The Global Laboratory Initiative (GLI) is a network of international partners dedicated to accelerating and expanding access to quality assured laboratory services in response to the diagnostic challenges of TB, notably HIV-associated and drug-resistant TB. The GLI provides a focus for TB within the framework of a multi-faceted yet integrated approach to laboratory capacity strengthening.
Organizationally, the GLI is one of seven main Working Groups of the Stop TB Partnership (STP) with the GLI secretariat provided by WHO-HQ in Geneva. Functionally, the GLI serves as an independent, technical expert advisory group to WHO, the STP, development agencies and countries. Structurally, the GLI consists of individuals with expertise in multiple disciplines, representing constituencies of stakeholders and/or institutions involved in global, regional and country-level laboratory strengthening.
Similar to other Working Groups, GLI activities are overseen by a Core Group of 10-14 members which acts as a steering committee to guide, evaluate, approve, support and facilitate GLI activities. The Secretariat provides strategic guidance, supports the governance of GLI, facilitates coordination of GLI priority projects, and serves as the focal point for TB laboratory strengthening activities at WHO-HQ. In doing so, the Secretariat works closely with national TB programmes, nongovernmental organizations, technical and funding agencies, WHO offices at country and regional levels, and other STP Working Groups (http://www.stoptb.org/wg/)
Lack of diagnostic capacity is a crucial barrier preventing an effective response to the challenges of TBHIV and drug-resistant TB, with less than 5% of the estimated burden of MDR-TB patients currently being detected. Estimation models and projections confirm that an effective response to the diagnostic challenges of TB-HIV and MDR-TB requires urgent and massive scale-up of laboratory services. Stop TB Partnership Working Groups, technical expert bodies, and international research and donor agencies also agree that the critical lack of TB laboratory capacity constitutes a global crisis, requiring a paradigm shift in providing laboratory policy guidance, technical assistance, and knowledge transfer within a global and integrated laboratory network.
In November 2002, the DOTS Expansion Working Group (DEWG) of the Stop TB Partnership established a Subgroup on Laboratory Capacity Strengthening (SLCS), with the secretariat based at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva. The SLCS comprised mainly of the directors of the Supranational Reference Laboratory Network (SRLN), heads of National TB Reference Laboratories (NRLs), technical agencies and Stop TB Partnership members.
In January 2007, the Subgroup on Laboratory Capacity Strengthening (SLCS) established a Core Group (CG) of international TB laboratory experts to accelerate activities and set the strategic direction for laboratory capacity strengthening. Over subsequent months, the CG estimated the projected needs in scaling up TB laboratory services and outlined the resource gaps. During this process, consensus evolved among key stakeholders that a Global Laboratory Initiative (GLI) was needed to guide and coordinate the huge effort required, integrating the SLCS and the SRLN and optimizing the network of partners involved in TB laboratory strengthening. The concept of GLI was proposed, presented to and endorsed by the TBP Coordinating Board in October 2007 and introduced with strong support during the Annual Union Conference on Lung Health in Cape Town in November 2007. The GLI was formally launched at the first Annual GLI Meeting co-convened by WHO TBP and Fondation M?rieux in May 2008, and was granted full Working Group status by the TBP Coordinating Board in October 2008.