Date Published: 10/14/10
AMP and Côte d’Ivoire Strengthen Their Collaboration with the Launch of a Mobile Laboratory
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, October 13, 2010 – The Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP), the National Institute of Public Hygiene (INHP), and the Institut Pasteur in Côte d’Ivoire (IPCI) announced today the launch of a mobile microbiology laboratory (LaboMobil ©) to strengthen epidemic disease surveillance and health monitoring in Côte d’Ivoire.
The mobile laboratory is an all-terrain vehicle outfitted with laboratory equipment (laminar flow incubator, centrifuge, refrigerator, fluorescent microscope). It has its own energy and water sources. A supplementary tool for reference laboratories, the LaboMobil © provides critical support to microbiological surveillance of potentially epidemic diseases such as cholera and acute bacterial meningitis.
Due to its mobility, the LaboMobil © allows rapid and reliable identification of the etiology of diarrheal and meningitis epidemics. It goes directly to suspected households, including those located in remote districts, to perform immediate, on-site microbiological diagnosis, thus reducing the delay in the implementation of appropriate, effective, and rapid outbreak responses (vaccination campaigns, preventive measures, adequate patient treatment, etc.).
After the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene of Côte d’Ivoire expressed interest in having a mobile laboratory, AMP partnered with INHP and IPCI to deploy and manage Côte d’Ivoire’s first LaboMobil ©. The collaborative project, entitled “Support for diagnosis and epidemiological surveillance in Côte d’Ivoire,” has the following objectives:
- To ensure a rapid and precise diagnosis of the causes of epidemiological alerts while strengthening the capacity of district laboratory technicians through training, retraining and formative supervision in sampling, conditioning, transport, and analysis of biological specimens.
- To contribute to operational research on potentially epidemic diseases by conducting epidemiological and microbiological field studies.
The new mobile laboratory, conceived by AMP and assembled in Germany by the company Robel ®, is the third prototype to be used in West Africa. The first two prototypes, developed by AMP in 2003 and 2005, are both used in Burkina Faso.
This project strengthens the cooperation between Côte d’Ivoire and AMP initiated in 1972 with then President Auguste Denise, renewed in Yamoussoukro in 1994 at the 4 th International Seminar on Vaccinations in Africa (SIVAC), and reinforced in 1995 with “EPIGEPS,” a course in epidemiology and health program management for district-level medical officers. Since 1997, this collaboration has taken the form of a close working relationship with INHP in preventive vaccination campaigns against yellow fever and meningitis as well as field epidemiology training. In 2000, AMP opened a regional office in Abidjan to develop projects of international scope in partnership with the Ministry of Health, INHP, IPCI, the National Blood Transfusion Center (CNTS), and the University of Cocody-Abidjan:
- Between 2001 and 2003, AMP coordinated a study on hepatitis B vaccination in Abidjan to determine an optimal infant immunization schedule.
- Since 2002, about 60 Ivoirians have participation in EPIVAC ©, a master’s degree program in vaccinology and health services management for district-level medical officers. This program is implemented by AMP in partnership with governments of beneficiary countries and the universities of Cocody-Abidjan and Paris-Dauphine (France) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the GAVI Alliance, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the vaccine industry (Sanofi Pasteur), and other African immunization partners. The EPIVAC International Network (EPINET), a professional network of former EPIVAC © participants involved in epidemiology and vaccination in Africa, was created in the context of this program. In 2009, a national branch of EPINET was set up in Côte d’Ivoire.
- Finally, with the support of the AMP-led “SIVAC” Initiative, Côte d’Ivoire established in January 2010 the “National Committee of Independent Experts for Immunization and Vaccines in Côte d’Ivoire” (CNEIV-CI), thus becoming the first GAVI-eligible African country to have a National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG).