Côte d'Ivoire - Burundi: Expertise exchange on HIV Viral Load Testing
From 5 to 16 February 2018, a two-week training session took place at CEDRES laboratory (Center for Diagnosis and Research on AIDS) in Abidjan. The session was organized for the three new laboratories supported by the 2nd phase of OPP-ERA in Burundi: the National Institute of Public Health (INSP), Kamenge University Hospital Center (CHUK), the Regional Hospital of Muyinga. and was focused on viral load testing and essential laboratory tests for a good quality care of HIV –infected patients.
Increasing HIV viral load testing in Burundi.
The goal of this training was to increase access to viral load tests in Burundi by launching new services in the three laboratories, in addition to the ANSS laboratory (National Association of support for HIV-positive people and AIDS patients) which has realized since 2014, more than 27,000 viral load tests with the support of the OPP-ERA project and Sidaction. Participants appreciated the knowledge acquired which will help to increase the access to viral load testing in Burundi and to evaluate the efficiency of HIV-infexted patients' treatment.
"This is the first time I participate in a practical training on molecular biology and viral load testing. The training will contribute to the launch of a viral load testing service in my laboratory and will serve as a background for the next training that will take place on site in Burundi. "Nshimiramana David, Quality Assurance Manager at Muyinga District Hospital.
Training by CEDRES: towards an expertise exchange network between the laboratories supported by OPP-ERA in West and Central Africa.
"It is important to host this training in Côte d'Ivoire because CeDRes is the most experienced labotory in HIV viral load analysis among the laboratories supported by OPP-ERA . To have 4 countries in the project allows an interesting experience sharing network to solve problems, improve protocols and develop a standard working methodology". Kone Fatoumata, MD, pharmacist - biologist, OPP-ERA Technical advisor in Côte d’Ivoire, CeDReS Laboratory.
CeDReS has successfully carried out viral load tests for several years with the support of OPP-ERA. Organized by CEDRES with the help of Expertise France and Solthis, the session allowed CeDReS to exchange with the participants its expertise on laboratory and viral load testing on open polyvalent platforms (OPPs). According to Koné Fatoumata, MD in charge of the training, participants are now able to complete pre-analytical treatments of samples, carry out extraction protocols and have acquired basics for results interpretation and classification. Indeed, this exchange between the laboratories involved in the project in the 4 countries is important : according to the trained participants :
"Having 4 countries in the same project is an asset for sharing experiences easily" Ndihokubwayo Godeberthe, Head of Drugs Quality Control Service at the National Institute of Public Health (INSP).
"It is important to collaborate with laboratories within the project which have already achieved successful results and share their experience" Nshimiramana David, Quality Assurance Manager at Muyinga District Hospital .
"Côte d'Ivoire and Burundi are countries with close resources. The training is a strategic way to build an African network, compare our results, strengthen our competences and develop a common research framework for HIV ". Dr. Nisubire Désiré, Medical Biologist at Kamenge Hospital-University Center’ laboratory (CHUK).
Funded by Unitaid, OPP-ERA is implemented by a consortium of French actors: Solthis (Therapeutic Solidarity and Health Initiatives), Leader of the consortium and Responsible for the project Implementation in Guinea; Expertise France, in charge of the project implementation in Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire; Sidaction, in charge of the project implementation in Burundi; and lastly ANRS, in charge of the project scientific direction.