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Roche Diagnostics, PEPFAR Tackle HIV/AIDS in Africa

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Roche Diagnostics and the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) announced on Tuesday a public-private partnership aimed at improving the capabilities of laboratories in Africa in the area of HIV/AIDS training and knowledge.

The partnership is for five years, is valued at $12 million, and seeks to create "institutional capacity of regional and national partners by developing certification programs for laboratory technicians, strengthening pre-service curricula, and institutionalizing quality improvement in diagnostics services," the partners said in a statement. They added that the initiative will accelerate the training of laboratory technicians in in vitro diagnostics and expand the trained laboratory workforce.

Specifically, the partnership will focus on developing competency and certification for laboratory human resources for health; developing pre-service training curricula; improving laboratory services, an effort that will include certification courses for pathologists, molecular diagnostics, and quality management; and collaborating with the African Society for Laboratory Medicine to improve local capacity and "promote country ownership and sustainability."

PEPFAR's contribution to the partnership will be implemented through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Strengthening laboratory systems is a priority for PEPFAR because 50-70 percent of clinical decisions depend on accurate laboratory diagnosis," United States Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby said in a statement. "The dramatic scale-up of anti-retroviral treatment requires strengthening partner countries' laboratory systems, molecular diagnostics and monitoring, and human resources."