Laboratory Support

High-quality laboratory services are an essential component of sustainable HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs. Currently, ICAP works with nearly 240 laboratories supporting HIV services and healthcare systems in eight sub-Saharan Africa countries. Support to laboratories is based on a network model, which links lower tier with higher tier laboratories to ensure access for all healthcare facilities to the laboratory tests needed to diagnose and monitor HIV-infected patients. Activities in support of laboratories include:

• Facility renovations and infrastructure improvements
• Procurement of equipment and supplies
• Training and mentoring of laboratory personnel
• Development of standardized operating procedures
• Establishment of quality assurance/quality control systems
• Development of data management systems

In supporting laboratory networks, ICAP emphasizes the integration of lab activities into HIV care and treatment and other clinical services. This approach strengthens the capacity of health systems to manage not only HIV, but also other diseases associated with high morbidity and mortality in resource-limited settings, particularly malaria and tuberculosis. In addition, ICAP works with healthcare systems to develop lab services in close proximity to clinical services, minimizing the need for sample transportation and, more importantly, simplifying travel and other logistics for patients.

Examples of ICAP activities in support of enhanced laboratory capacity include:

• Mozambique – renovation of laboratories in Quelimane and Xai Xai
• Rwanda – support for implementation of quality assurance systems at National Laboratory
• Tanzania – strengthening of regional laboratory with molecular biology capability for early infant diagnosis of HIV

ICAP’s laboratory activities are led by team of specialists with diverse expertise in clinical laboratory management in resource-limited settings, clinical applications of molecular biology, public health program implementation, and HIV care and treatment.