APHL is a vital Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) partner, working to strengthen public health laboratories to achieve GHSA goals.
As the association representing the US public health laboratory system, we are a linchpin for core GHSA functions, such as twinning and system building, and also develop strategies, systems and trainings in the US and internationally.
Our expertise as a founding partner of the US Laboratory Response Network is also invaluable: APHL helps to link the country’s public health laboratories so they can function as a national system, and we apply these lessons to bolster preparedness in other countries.
APHL has worked in collaboration with CDC PEPFAR, and as a partner with dozens of organizations in 31 countries for more than two decades.
Our teams have formed strong relationships with Asian and African nations through our partnerships on PEPFAR and other successful programs. We build on each country’s strengths, develop tailored solutions, effectively build systems and reliably meet benchmarks.
APHL is ideally positioned to help laboratories meet increased expectations and support the workforce and management that will lead them into the future.
Biosecurity, surveillance, early detection and fast diagnosis are all top priorities for the GHSA. APHL helps countries achieve these goals through system-building strategies such as:
- Reviewing and developing national laboratory policy review and strategic plans
- Training in quality management systems (QMS), laboratory information management systems, biological safety cabinet certification and analytic measurement range assessments
- Convening key stakeholders to share best practices and creating programs for emerging leaders
- Piloting a Public Health Laboratory Service Fellowship program
- Collaborating with the African Society of Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) for training in baseline lab assessment and other skills
- Giving technical and management assistance to the ASLM to design, develop and implement the African Public Health Laboratory Network
Our partnership with Sierra Leone is a good illustration of how APHL works hand-in-hand with a country.
We built a strong rapport with the Ministry of Health through seven years of collaborative PEPFAR projects. When the Ebola outbreak began, APHL consultants were already on the scene, where we helped coordinate the work of 16 international partners.
As the crisis abated, the Ministry of Health expressed the need for an early-detection warning system to address not only possible Ebola flare-ups, but also outbreaks of any kind, with a flexible, mobile team at the ready. APHL ramped up its system-building efforts and created an effective and sustainable workforce training model: a Rapid Response Team that cross-trained on tests for Ebola and other pathogenic diseases.
This investment prioritized people, even as it brought a new level of technology and focus on quality. In only one year, results are remarkable: a rise in system capacity from near-zero (due to the epidemic) to a level equal to leading countries — and 12 team members competent in rapid molecular diagnostics who can mentor the next generation.
To preserve this success, APHL has collaborated on a comprehensive approach to training future laboratorians and leaders, creating a pipeline that will endure.
APHL relies on the strength of our members to achieve any goal. Together, we’re collaborating with these countries on GHSA activities:
- Guinea: training in biosafety, biosecurity and biobanking
- India and Indonesia: strategic planning to strengthen their systems
- Kenya: laboratory mapping, as an outgrowth of updating the National Laboratory Strategic Plan
- Liberia: strengthening the system to improve detection, response and prevention
- Tanzania: twinning to improve surveillance and introduce advanced molecular diagnostics
- Uganda: improving coordination of national laboratory biosafety and biosecurity programs
- Vietnam: strengthening the system to support an Emergency Operations Center and applying QMS, External Quality Assurance and informatics
APHL will continue to be a key partner in GHSA; its aims are embedded in our DNA. We look forward to accelerating progress toward GHSA goals.