COVID-19 - SOAC_WAAS, in cooperation with the WAHO, mobilizes ECORAS to strengthen the capacities of medical biology laboratories in the ECOWAS region

On April 16, 2020, as part of the fight against COVID-19 in Benin, SOAC WAAS was contacted by the Agency for Standardization, Metrology and Quality Control (ANM) in charge of the implementation of the National Quality Policy. SOAC WAAS was requested an assistance in building the capacity of national medical laboratories. The finding made by the ANM is that "no medical laboratory is accredited to ensure the reliability of the results at such a critical time".

In addition, the two extraordinary sessions of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS and UEMOA, relating to the fight against COVID-19, were respectively organized by videoconference on April 23 and 27, 2020. During ECOWAS session, it was decided to "put in place significant support to support the social sectors, in particular health systems and infrastructure, and ensure that 15% of the annual budget of Member States is dedicated to strengthening their health care system". The UEMOA States one has specifically identified among the measures "the development and implementation of a regional plan to strengthen the capacity of health systems for the management of epidemics".

Taking into account the above, SOAC WAAS Board of Directors gave a favorable response to the request of the Republic of Benin. In addition, it was decided, on an exceptional basis, to extend this support measure granted to Benin, to all of its Member States, which are those of UEMOA, and to the Republic of Guinea. Thus, 300 medical biology laboratory personnel were targeted, through this vast initiative carried out free of charge but, the estimated budget of which is 180 million FCFA at the rate of 18 million FCFA on average / State.

SOAC WAAS requested the assistance of the UEMOA Commission, through the Department of Human Development, in order to be able to identify beneficiaries in Member States.

In the end, the trainings took place from August 17 to 28, 2020. There was real enthusiasm with 29 more participants than expected, for a total of 329, of which an average of 25% men and 75% women.

The participants were biologists (35%), heads of department (25%), technicians (25%), research professors (10%) and laboratory managers (4%). The average knowledge progression rate between the beginning and the end of the training was 57%.

One of the main conclusions was the need to continue and strengthen the results of this activity, especially given the persistence of the pandemic.

In this context, SOAC WAAS approached the West African Health Organization (WAHO) to study ways and means of consolidating these achievements. WAHO responded favorably by entrusting SOAC with coordinating the training of around thirty officials from its reference medical laboratories in the ECOWAS region.

This time, the capacity building workshops will be dedicated to the first managers of these structures who are responsible for stimulating and sharing the importance of the quality approach with all staff. SOAC WAAS will organize these trainings in the form of webinars, from December 03 to 15, 2020, in conjunction with the two other accreditation bodies that are members of the ECOWAS Regional Accreditation System, namely the Ghana Accreditation Body (GhaNAS) and the Nigerian Accreditation Body (NiNAS).


Saturday, November 28, 2020 - 12:45

This program is funded by the European Union with the technical support of UNIDO, the implementing Agency

The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Commision of the European Union