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Supporting Ebola virus disease (EVD) diagnostics

The EFFO training program for identifying and managing suspected Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases has been principally developed in the pilot country of Burkina Faso. In Ivory Coast, the EFFO project established a pool of experts as part of a train-the-trainer project in synergy with the laboratory and ANDEMIA project in clinical fields, and also provided training for health institutions still requiring this for their EVD preparedness. A number of complementary projects have also been completed by the Robert Koch Institute in Ivory Coast,.

Training of laboratory staff

Financed by the German Federal Foreign Office, these training courses for reliable EVD diagnostics in Ivory Coast were strengthened as part of the German Partnership Programme for Excellence in Biological and Health Security.

The University Hospital of Bouaké has conducted training courses for laboratory staff since June 2015 and has set up a laboratory for EVD diagnostics and other viral hemorrhagic fever pathogens for training purposes. This has allowed to train 54 experts in EVD diagnostics by the end of 2015. The courses ran for two weeks.

The country can now rely on two mobile laboratories to speed up diagnoses and deal with higher specimen numbers in the event of a serious EVD outbreak.

Syndrome monitoring as part of the ANDEMIA project

The ANDEMIA project records relevant epidemiological data from strategically placed monitoring clinics. The locations of these selected sentinel hospitals include rural, hard-to-access regions with a high potential for zoonotic pathogens to be transmitted to humans. The hospitals were supported both in terms of staff and equipment, and two Ivory Coast PhD students and post-doctoral researchers helped ensure the project’s sustainability. The University Hospital of Bouaké was also a key partner for this Ivory Coast project.

Who is involved?

The “Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques” (CSRS), a research institute in Abidjan was involved in the EFFO project. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has many years of experience with this cooperation.

The laboratory facility in Bouaké coordinates with the Pasteur Institute in Abidjan, which houses the EVD reference laboratory. The University Hospital of Bouaké invited trainees from Ivory Coast, and also allowed staff from the RKIs laboratory team to offer training. With its long-term experience in international projects, the CSRS Ivory Coast research institute similarly provided important organizational backing.

The ANDEMIA project involves a number of institutions, including the University Hospital of Bouaké, the LANADA institute for veterinary medicine in Abidjan, and various hospitals in the Taï region in the country’s west. This region is located right near the border with Liberia and is of particular relevance to the EFFO project particularly in terms of EVD risk.

Other institutions in Germany (Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin), South Africa (NICD and University of Pretoria), DR Congo (INRB and University of Kinshasa) and Burkina Faso (Centre Muraz) were also involved.

Date: 01.09.2015

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