ASLM Commends Nomination of Dr. Deborah Birx as United States Global AIDS Coordinator
Update: Dr. Birx Confirmed
Corey White (ASLM Senior Communications Officer) +251 11 557 1021, Email
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (10 January 2014) – The African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) commends United States President Barack Obama for nominating Dr. Deborah Birx as Ambassador at Large and Coordinator of United States Government activities to address HIV/AIDS globally. Dr. Birx has served as a committed advocate for ASLM’s pan-African efforts to improve quality patient care and disease control through improved laboratory systems and networks in Africa. ASLM applauds the nomination of Dr. Birx for this important global post and publicly recommits itself to the goals of its ASLM2020 strategic vision – improved patient care and disease prevention and control through a strengthened laboratory workforce, laboratory accreditation, harmonised pan-African regulatory systems and strengthened national and regional laboratory networks.
Dr. Birx has contributed significantly to advancing the global fight against HIV/AIDS for decades, including through the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). She most recently served as the Director of the Division of Global HIV/AIDS in the Center for Global Health at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When confirmed as the Global AIDS Coordinator, Dr. Birx will lead the PEPFAR programme.
“Medical laboratories play a pivotal role in global disease diagnosis, surveillance, outbreak investigation, initiation and monitoring of therapy, as well as research and development,” said Dr. Tsehaynesh Messele, ASLM Chief Executive Officer. “In Africa, health systems are seldom adequately resourced and often undervalued. Inadequate resources and diagnostic services compromise the quality of patient care due to misdiagnosis and consequent under/over treatment of disease presenting significant economic and public health challenges locally, nationally and internationally. Historical movement toward accreditation and enhanced laboratory systems has gained significant momentum in the past few years throughout the continent of Africa and amongst the international community.”
Dr. Birx was awarded the first ASLM Lifetime Achievement Award during the ASLM launch ceremony in March 2011, in recognition of her outstanding and continual support for laboratory strengthening initiatives in Africa including pioneering work on accreditation in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
ASLM extends its appreciation to Dr. Birx for her past support in creating sustainable, local health programmes and applauds her nomination as the next United States Global AIDS Coordinator. Saving lives through HIV testing coverage, increased laboratory efficiency, lowered costs and sustained local capacity can be achieved through the commitment of global partners.
The African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) is a pan-African professional body, endorsed by the African Union that advocates for the critical role and needs of laboratory medicine. ASLM aims to achieve the four goals of its 2020 strategic vision: building a sustainable laboratory workforce; accrediting laboratories to improve performance and quality; improving the regulation of medical diagnostic products; and building laboratory networks to improve early disease detection and collaborative research.