Last week at the DREAM center “Elard Alumando” of Blantyre, in Malawi, a workshop took place called “Guaranteeing excellence in the diagnostic procedure and in managing the laboratory. The role of the laboratory in DREAM 2.0”. The workshop was attended by the managers of the most important laboratories established by the DREAM Program of the Community of Sant’Egidio in Africa, originating from Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, DRC and Malawi itself.
The participants asked themselves how the laboratories they managed could better serve the DREAM Program, considering how over these last few years DREAM has been able to face new challenges set by the Global Health demand in many African countries. This thanks to its inclusive treatment model and attention to the patient’s needs as a person, together with the excellent services offered (such as the molecular biology laboratories).
It is for this reason that it was discussed how to implement new analytical tests and how to guarantee the development of a quality system, in accordance with international regulations, the WHO’s general approach and the specific programs in each country. Additional topics included how to work in coordination with other Institutions, whether Public or Private, national or international, with the aim of providing sustainable and increasingly accesible diagnostics, especially for the molecular sector.
Teamwork, debating specific topics and sharing challenges and solutions encountered was an enriching experience for all participants. They all expressed a profound and unanimous gratitude for the occasion, committing to maintaining closer relations throughout the year in order to further reinforce the African network created by the Community of Sant’Egidio with DREAM. This can be achieved by working together to uphold a “humanistic approach” to the high quality standards that this profession requires, bearing in mind that behind every sample due for analysis lie real men, women and children, often with familiar and friendly faces.
A special appreciation goes towards the colleagues of the DREAM Program in Malawi for the excellent work carried out in implementing the new services such as monitoring hypertension, or the screening of breast or cervix cancer. Finally, Richard Luhanga, director of the laboratory of Blantyre, made a presentation of the in-house method for monitoring HIV drug resistance which was met with great appreciation. This laboratory method was recently presented at an open lecture in Lilongwe, with the presence of representatives of the Ministry of Health, the CDCs and various international partners active in the HIV sector. It is very interesting because it could, at its best, reduce to just a quarter the cost of the test, and could be implemented in the country without having to constantly ship the samples abroad to undergo analysis.