U.S. Government, Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) Prepares Laboratory Leaders

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) helped organize two weeks of Laboratory Leadership and Management training for 60 senior managers from laboratories around the country at the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) on November 5-16, 2018 in Addis Ababa. The training is a critical requirement for laboratory accreditation, a flagship program for the Minister of Health.

The training aims to develop technical knowledge for laboratory directors to set goals, draft implementation plans, and to manage laboratory activities to achieve accreditation requirements.  Accreditation is an objective process to evaluate laboratories against international operational standards.

With the support of CDC, the Association for Public Health Laboratories (APHL) developed the Laboratory Leadership and Management training curriculum. This program strengthens current workforce development activities and defines new approaches to assure an adequate number of competent, well-trained, and qualified professionals that will accelerate the accreditation process.

“Laboratory capacity building is a priority for the Ministry of Health.  EPHI is committed to supporting regional and hospital laboratories from the foundational establishment of lab services through accreditation.  Training like the Laboratory Leadership and Management course is critical to form a sustainable laboratory system for Ethiopia,” remarked EPHI Director General, Dr. Ebba Abate.

Dr. Kathleen Gallagher, program director for the Global Health Security Agenda, stated, “CDC is supporting a broad portfolio of activities to support laboratory capacity in Ethiopia, and APHL’s course is a capstone activity bringing together senior laboratory directors to better direct and guide their facilities through a successful accreditation review.”

The national reference laboratory at EPHI anchors Ethiopia’s public health laboratory system. Regional laboratories in the nine regions and two city administrations complement the national laboratory network, with additional diagnostic support housed at referral hospitals throughout the country.  Funding from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) supported the construction of six regional referral laboratories in Ethiopia.

The Federal Ministry of Health has leveraged the infrastructure to develop quality laboratory services. A critical measure of achieving this goal is the accreditation of laboratories. CDC is working with 31 priority countries to develop global health security capabilities, which protect Americans and people around the world from disease threats.  This effort illustrates the commitment of CDC and our partner countries to develop national laboratory systems that use modern diagnostic technology to safely and accurately detect and identify pathogens which cause infectious diseases.