Program Focuses on Strengthening Healthcare Systems, Starting with Accreditation for 10 Laboratories
BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a leading global medical technology company, and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), today launched Labs for Life in Kenya, a collaboration to help strengthen healthcare and laboratory systems. Five laboratories located in Kwale County, Narok County, Makueni County, Lodwar County, and Nairobi County have been prioritized by the Ministry of Health to be the first to participate in the Kenya Labs for Life program, with the goal of adding five more laboratories in 2015.
Kenya is just one country where the Labs for Life program is being launched; other countries include Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and India. The new collaboration builds on a prior five-year public-private partnership (PPP) between BD and PEPFAR that focused on improving overall laboratory systems and services in sub-Saharan African countries severely affected by HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB).
The goals of the Labs for Life collaboration include:
- Improving the quality of laboratory services to attain national, regional, or international laboratory accreditation
- Implementing laboratory human resources training to develop skills for forecasting and optimization of lab supplies
- Developing curriculum and training on laboratory equipment maintenance
- Leveraging HIV laboratory systems to address non-communicable diseases such as diabetes
- Creating the capability of health systems to adopt point-of-care technologies
BD and PEPFAR first began working together in Kenya in 2010 with the Safer Blood Drawing collaboration – an initiative designed to improve blood specimen quality which enables more effective disease diagnosis. This program has so far trained 2,500 healthcare workers from across 30 health facilities and led to the establishment of a Center of Excellence in Phlebotomy and Specimen Collection at the Kenya Medical Training College.
“As Kenya continues to expand access for antiretroviral therapy (ART) to populations living with HIV/AIDS, we recognize the need to bring forth new and better diagnostics across the nation’s laboratories,” said James Macharia, Cabinet Secretary, Kenya Ministry of Health. “We are committed to strengthening the quality of our labs and welcome this collaboration with BD and PEPFAR.”
The collaboration will bolster Kenya’s engagement in the Stepwise Laboratory Quality Improvement Process Towards Accreditation (SLIPTA) program, which was initiated in the country in 2010 with the support of the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO-AFRO). The program has experienced remarkable success and, therefore, the need to enroll more laboratories to ensure equity and access to quality services. The number of laboratories enrolled in SLIPTA has increased to more than 71 laboratories across all regions of the country.
The SLIPTA process includes a baseline assessment followed by laboratory quality management training, improvement projects, and onsite mentorship. Mid- and end-term assessments are used to rate the programs from one to five stars, with each star considered an incremental step toward achieving accreditation.
BD’s expertise in the area of diagnostics and laboratory strengthening are key competencies that will be applied towards this collaboration. “We are starting work in 10 labs with a goal of moving them from zero stars to five stars so that they are ready for accreditation”, said Renuka Gadde, Vice President, Global Health, BD. “Our experience in Kenya is that these types of programs have a ripple effect: we start small but the government quickly scales up programs. It is our privilege to work with CDC and the Ministry of Health on the Labs for Life program.”
For PEPFAR and CDC, collaborating with BD and the Kenya government to build a strong laboratory system is an important step toward achieving the goal of an AIDS-free generation. “Our work in Kenya through the BD-PEPFAR Labs for Life program will help amplify our existing efforts to help labs on the journey toward accreditation through the World Health Organization’s SLIPTA program,” said Katherine Perry, Kenya PEPFAR Coordinator. “Additionally, as plans develop to implement point-of-care technologies across the various tiers of Kenya’s healthcare facilities, there is now an even greater need to strengthen health systems.”
The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the U.S. Government initiative to support partner nations around the world in responding to HIV/AIDS. It was launched in 2003, and is the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease internationally in history. Through PEPFAR, and with the generous support of the American people, the U.S. Government has committed more than $52 billion to bilateral HIV/AIDS programs, the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and bilateral TB programs through Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. PEPFAR is the cornerstone and largest component of the President’s Global Health Initiative. This Initiative supports partner countries in improving health outcomes through strengthened health systems, with a particular focus on improving the health of women, newborns and children through programs that address a range of health issues. For more information, please visit www.PEPFAR.gov.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is America’s premier health promotion, prevention, and preparedness agency and a global leader in public health. CDC is at the forefront of public health efforts to prevent and control infectious and chronic diseases, injuries, workplace hazards, disabilities, and environmental health threats. The agency is globally recognized for conducting research and investigations and for its action-oriented approach to public health. CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA) provides critical leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS in resource-constrained countries by assisting partner governments to strengthen laboratory, epidemiology, surveillance, public health evaluation and workforce capacity-essential components for strong sustainable public health systems. For more information, please visithttp://www.cdc.gov/globalaids/
BD is a leading medical technology company that partners with customers and stakeholders to address many of the world’s most pressing and evolving health needs. Our innovative solutions are focused on improving drug delivery, enhancing the diagnosis of infectious diseases and cancers, supporting the management of diabetes and advancing cellular research. We are nearly 30,000 associates in 50 countries who strive to fulfill our purpose of “Helping all people live healthy lives” by advancing the quality, accessibility, safety and affordability of healthcare around the world. For more information, please visit www.bd.com.