The Ebola outbreak has had substantial deleterious effects on the countries’ economies, public finances, and the health care system. WAHO and the member states in the ECOWAS region were not prepared to react adequately to respond to the emerging outbreak. In order to prevent future outbreaks WAHO identified a dominant weak point in the reaction to stop the epidemic: The deficiently equipped, underfinanced, and understaffed laboratories contributed widely to the inadequate reaction from the health sector.

Based on the decision of the presidents of the ECOWAS member states to establish a Regional Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the existing CDC in Abuja has been chosen for an upgrade to the Regional CDC. Furthermore reference institutions should be established consecutively in all 15 ECOWAS countries. Existing laboratories should be upgraded to serve as specialized reference laboratories for the region within the framework of the RCDC.

The objective of this assignment was for Management4Health and IQLS to assess the need for upgrading of the existing specialized laboratories in the ECOWAS Region and the RCDC to be functional in the network structure and hence enabling them to better support the control of future epidemics. Secondly, the assignment will evaluate the envisaged interaction of these laboratories with the regional and with national CDCs and other institutional stakeholders and their positioning within the regional health sector. The focus is put on:

  • Reviewing the regional health sector and appraising the structure of project executing agency (PEA)
  • Assessing the Bio Safety Level (BSL) of the RCDC and 3 reference laboratories.
  • Assessing the communication and coordination between CDCs and laboratories.
  • Elaboration of a project proposal to upgrade the equipment, if required, of approximately three laboratories that are intended to have or to reach BSL 3.
  • Assessing the need to improve communication equipment of the institutions (regional and country CDCs, laboratories and WAHO).

Four (4) countries and laboratories were selected for first assessment:

  • Burkina Faso (Centre Muraz)
  • Nigeria (Regional Center for Disease Control)
  • Côte d’Ivoire (Institut Pasteur)
  • Niger (Centre CERMES)

This study is funded by KFW, German Development Bank.


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