1st Global Laboratory Initiative for Africa (GLI Africa) Country Workshop held in Uganda

Over 100 participants gathered in Kampala, Uganda, for the 1st GLI Africa Country Workshop on Strengthening TB Diagnostic Networks in Africa. The three-day workshop (19-21 July 2016) brought together representatives of National TB Control Programmes and National TB Reference Laboratories from more than 20 African countries, technical partners, multilateral agencies, donors, and other key stakeholders.

The workshop identified key priorities for strengthening TB diagnostic networks in Africa, and included discussions on improving the interface between laboratories and clinicians, building country-specific specimen referral networks, implementing new WHO policies and GLI practical guidance and tools, establishing electronic data connectivity solutions, and coordinating technical assistance. Participants also drafted the Kampala Declaration, which describes the next steps needed to strengthen TB diagnostic networks on the continent and affirms the role of GLI Africa as a partnership that can drive these steps forward.

GLI Africa was established in 2014 to support countries in the African region to achieve quality-assured, accessible and sustainable TB laboratories services. GLI Africa drives the adaptation and dissemination of global WHO policies and GLI practical guidance and tools, by coordinating technical assistance and building regional capacity to support its TB diagnostic networks.

The current Chair of GLI Africa is Amy Piatek (USAID) and the Vice-Chair is Kekeletso Kao (FIND). Core group members include Heidi Albert (FIND South Africa), Heather Alexander (CDC, current GLI chair), Affolabi Dissou (candidate SRL Benin), Yala Djamel (SRL Algeria), Jean Iragena (WHO Regional Office for Africa), Nazir Ismail (SRL South Africa), Moses Joloba (SRL Uganda), Teferi Mekonen (ASLM), Philip Onyebujoh (WHO Regional Office for Africa) and Tom Shinnick (former GLI chair). The GLI Africa secretariat function is provided by Obert Kachuwaire (ASLM). This 1st GLI Africa Country Workshop on Strengthening TB Diagnostic Networks was made possible with funding from USAID and PEPFAR.