The African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) has formalised a new partnership with the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) and the African Federation of Clinical Chemistry (AFCC). On 17 March 2018, Dr Ali Elbireer, Chief Executive Officer of ASLM, met with Prof Howard Morris, President of IFCC, and Prof Rajiv Erasmus, President of AFCC, at the ASLM headquarters office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and subsequently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together on a number of collaborative projects aimed at strengthening and improving the quality of laboratory medicine in Africa.
“Over the course of their history, the IFCC has made outstanding contributions to the fields of clinical chemistry and laboratory medicine in Africa,” said Dr Elbireer after the meeting. “ASLM is delighted to work with IFCC and AFCC to continue advancing the field of laboratory medicine in Africa and worldwide.”
The organisations plan to initiate a number of collaborative projects within the next year. Projects will encompass support for continuing education and training programmes for medical technologists and laboratory scientists and management training for laboratory directors, as well as training and preparation of laboratories for accreditation. This will be done, in part, through support of distance learning programmes and clinical and scientific conferences in Africa, and the development and promotion of national reference laboratories. In addition, the organisations will work together to promote the value of laboratory medicine in Africa as a means to improve clinical outcomes across the continent.
One major focus will be on proficiency testing. ASLM, IFCC and AFCC will further collaborate with the diagnostics industry to establish proficiency testing programmes and ensure the availability of quality laboratory medicine diagnostics in Africa.
“A first priority will be continuing and expanding the external quality assessment programmes for clinical chemistry in Zambia, with the hope that success there provides a format to be expanded across other African nations,” said Prof Morris. “Over the longer term, the focus will be on ensuring the sustainability of proficiency testing and external quality assurance programmes.”