9 July 2021 | Press Release
Niamey, Republic of Niger, 7 July 2021 at the GAWEYE Hotel – 9am: Solthis officially launches the Labo 2S project “LABORATORIES FOR HEALTH IN NIGER” implemented in Niger in partnership with Fondation Mérieux and in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health (MSP) and patients’ associations (RENIP+ and ANIMAG/TB) Funded by the Initiative for a period of 3 years, the project aims to strengthen the capacity of laboratories to guarantee the availability and quality of laboratory services for people living with HIV and/or people with tuberculosis.
An initial assessment revealing dysfunctions at several levels
Despite the considerable efforts made in recent years to provide innovative and efficient technical facilities, Niger is struggling to integrate all the components necessary for the continuous availability of laboratory services and to ensure the link with health care teams for access to better quality HIV and TB care for patients. This poor performance is due to shortcomings throughout the chain of care in relation to the laboratories, particularly at the level of diagnosis and follow-up biological examinations of patients.
In fact, an inventory carried out in the 10 beneficiary sites of the project in Niamey and Dosso in 2020 to better orient the project’s actions, reveals, among other things: HIV care marked by a low level of early diagnosis of HIV infection in children, very limited or even non-existent access to viral load, particularly in the interior of the country, as well as under-use and/or late use of the results of viral load in the management of patients’ therapeutic failure. In terms of the management of tuberculosis, systematic screening for this disease among people living with HIV is active in the country, but the therapeutic indications are uncertain and lack traceability, which needs to be improved.
Frequent stock-outs and long periods without reagents are observed in the laboratories, especially for viral load and qualitative PCR. This problem is reflected in some sites by a delay in the delivery of results and consequently in the follow-up of patients, and is caused in particular by a lack of supply and stock management procedures as well as the absence of sufficient service data for the estimation of needs in some sites.
Strengthened laboratories to fight HIV and TB in Niger
Thus, faced with these challenges, the Labo 2S project aims to achieve these three main results:
- The capacity of health-care teams and patient communities is strengthened to enable people living with HIV (PLHIV, including exposed infants) and/or people with tuberculosis (TB) to have access to diagnostic and follow-up tests, and to use them to tailor patient management
- Laboratory capacity is strengthened to ensure the availability and quality of laboratory services for PLHIV and/or people with TB
- National capacity will be strengthened for the development of an integrated HIV and TB laboratory strategy within the health system