ECSA in collaboration with the Uganda Supranational Reference Laboratory submitted an expression of interest to the Global Fund to “Support Uganda SRL and other ECSA Countries to Improve TB Diagnosis in the Region”. This submission of an expression of interest was in line with the Health Ministers’ Conference resolutions ECSA/HMC 34/R 2 and ECSA/HMC48/R7, ECSA/HMC50/R6, which directed ECSA to apply to the global fund and other partners for additional resources to support member states scale up interventions and strengthen laboratory services in mitigating against Drug Resistant TB (DR TB). Subsequently in January 2015, ECSA submitted a Concept note that was developed though a regional consultative process.
In May this year, the Concept Note was accepted by the Global Fund Grants Approval Committee (GAC) to proceed to grant making for an amount of USD 6,136,774.
The grant making process has since been completed and the Grant Agreement finalized and signed on 27th October 2015 clearing the way for project implementation as from 1st November 2015 with the official launch the project during the Health Ministers Conference in Mauritius.
The four (4) year Global Fund project will support National TB Reference Laboratories in 18 countries which include all the Nine (9) ECSA Member States and nine (9) non-Member States namely: Botswana, Burundi, Eritrea, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. ECSA-HC shall play a facilitating and coordinating role as the Principal recipient while Uganda SRL shall be the Sub-recipient and main implementer of the project.
The goals/objectives of the project are;
- Build a regional network of NRLs for inter-state laboratory quality assurance and management in the ECSA countries;
- Improve Laboratory service provision for quality assured 1st and 2nd line Drug susceptibility testing accessible to people in need; and
- Enhance impact of rapid molecular TB diagnostic testing in the region and building capacity of NRLs to undertake epidemiological/national level disease monitoring surveys such as Drug Resistance Survey (DRS) and TB disease prevalence.
Project Initiation Meeting and Official Launch during the 62nd Health Ministers Conference in Mauritius
ECSA held the annual TB Experts meeting and the Global Fund Project Initiation preconference on the 28th and 29th November 2015. The project was officially launched during the Health Minister meeting on the 3rd December 2015. The two day preconference meeting brought together representatives from 16 out of the 18 project countries who included National TB Program Managers and National TB Reference laboratory Managers.