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AFENET has received funding from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support laboratory capacity to respond to COVID-19. The $5,436,100 grant will support accelerated planning and operational readiness for COVID-19 preparedness and response.

According to Mr. Davis Ashaba (right below), the AFENET Senior Lab Scientist/ Lab Projects Manager, the grant will also support the development of several tools and strategies, provide technical assistance and program support. The funds will be used to purchase COVID-19 testing supplies, support human resource capacity development in four African countries, and set up an Epidemiology Surveillance Unit in the Dominican Republic to respond to COVID-19. The beneficiary countries in Africa include Angola, Djibouti, Somalia, and Eritrea.

In the Dominican Republic, the funds will also be used to strengthen the field epidemiology training program by building the capacity of residents undertaking the epidemiology and laboratory track.

Under the Laboratory pillar, AFENET has also played a crucial role in coordinating procurement of supplies to strengthen laboratory diagnostics (test kits) and surveillance capacities of different countries. AFENET also supported Africa CDC to distribute other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s) across the continent.

Developing public health laboratory capacity in Africa is among AFENET’s strategic objectives. Emphasis is on the following strategic actions: 

  • Establishing the current capacity of health laboratories in Africa
  • Establishing and operationalizing a laboratory networking mechanism 
  • Supporting laboratory capacity among member programs.