Africa CDC collaborated with international partners to host the first international training course for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) diagnostics from 17 to 21 February 2020 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The 25 participants in the training were from Angola, Burundi, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The training was organized in partnership with the World Health Organization; Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB), Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp; Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, France; US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention; and Institute Pasteur, Dakar, Senegal.
The training course is the first of a series of modules to implement the framework for cross-border cooperation that was endorsed by Member States during an emergency ministerial meeting in Goma, DRC, in October 2019.
“This training is an outcome of the agreements reached during the ministerial meeting last year in Goma, where 10 countries, including the DRC, agreed on a framework for cross-border collaboration in the fight against Ebola virus disease and other public health emergencies in the Great Lakes region,” said Dr John Nkengasong, Director, Africa CDC.
The training was held at the new reference laboratory of the National Institute of Biomedical Research, Kinshasa, which was also officially launched during the training.
“Dear participants, you are the first to use this facility, which will become a reference laboratory for the sub-region. It is important that you share whatever knowledge you have acquired in this training with other people in your countries so that we can have a team of skilled laboratory experts who can help capacitate Africa to take care of its laboratory diagnostic needs for Ebola,” said Prof. Jean Jacques Muyembe, Director, INRB.
Participants learned the general management of EVD and the standard precautions and protective measures to minimize risk of infection in the laboratory. They had practice sessions on specimen handling using modern techniques in serology, polymerase chain reaction, and next generation sequencing. They also learned how to deactivate the virus using the PCR test and transport them.
“The vital role of Africa CDC is beginning to be understood in the continent. This initiative should be sustained for the benefit of all Africans,” said Dr Kunda Musonda, Head of Laboratory Systems and Networks at the Zambian National Public Health Institute.
This training is expected to enhance detection and management of EVD in Africa as participants train other laboratory experts in their countries.
“The results of this workshop have exceeded our expectations. The new methods learned here will help us to safely prepare for any outbreak of Ebola in our countries,” said Dr Clotaire Donatien Rafai, Director-General, Laboratoire National de Biologie Clinique et de Santé Publique, Central Africa Republic.