Workshops for decentralized lot testing part of 5-year Unitaid funded project
WHO and FIND are implementing a 12-country pilot project funded by Unitaid as part of a decentralized malaria rapid diagnostic test (RDT) lot testing programme. Following the success of FIND’s initial lot testing workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in late 2016, a second series of training sessions recently took place in Nairobi, Kenya, to expand the capacity of laboratory technicians and enable the collection of lot testing results via a connected database.
In the past, WHO and FIND have coordinated a centralized malaria RDT lot testing programme that relied on two international reference laboratories (the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in the Philippines and Pasteur Institute in Cambodia (IPC)) to provide lot testing services worldwide. The two intensive workshops are part of a decentralization programme that enables national reference laboratories to establish sustainable lot testing programmes, and implements a new standardized procedure, using panels of recombinant proteins of malaria parasite as reference materials instead of patient samples.
Experts from FIND and the WHO Global Malaria Programme, as well as trainers from RITM and IPC, led the training sessions. While the first workshop involved extensive training in lot testing standard operating procedures (SOPs), the second one expanded upon these techniques and introduced an innovative database and reporting system. The new online database records lot testing results entered by technicians and automatically produces reports for stakeholders who request lost testing, including RDT manufacturers, procurement agencies, NGOs, and national malaria control programmes.
National reference laboratory technicians from pilot project countries participated in the workshop, including Cambodia, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Madagascar. Representatives from India and Nigeria also participated in the workshop in order to establish lot testing procedures with recombinant panels in their respective national reference laboratories.