Seminar #16B

Mapping Laboratory Capacity, Systems, and Networks in Africa

Hosted by: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Invitation Only

Sunday, 4 December
CTICC room location: 1.64

Healthcare delivery in Africa is changing rapidly. Economic growth is spurring greater focus on healthcare and demand for high-quality, evidence-based medicine. Laboratory testing is central to these trends and testing demands are growing within networks of laboratories across different countries. However, significant gaps in laboratory capacity exist in Africa that threaten to hamper the expansion of healthcare services on the continent. In particular, the capacity and coverage of current laboratories is known only in basic terms across the continent. This lack of information significantly limits efforts to understand and address these gaps.

Recognizing this limitation, the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) is launching a program to map the existing laboratory capacity in Africa in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and other partners. Working with Ministries of Health and national health institutes and key partners, ASLM is developing and piloting mapping tools to assess laboratory infrastructure, capacity, and networks, initially starting in a small number of countries.

The benefits of the laboratory mapping exercise are numerous, including empowering countries to make more comprehensive data driven planning decisions for laboratory networks, understanding more comprehensively the strengths and gaps in the laboratory system, and to enable future mapping exercises that provide trend analysis. This information can complement other health facility mapping exercises underway in some countries. Laboratory mapping information can be articulated effectively using Geographic Information System visualization tools to produce data outputs that inform governments, policy makers, implementing partners and donors, and enable effective planning and delivery of laboratory strengthening efforts and delivery of health services.


  • To discuss the utility and feasibility of mapping laboratories and the development of mapping tools;
  • To identify key partnerships and related initiatives regionally, within countries, and amongst national stakeholders;
  • To plan the approach for mapping and define the data needs, outputs, and data users;
  • To assess the potential barriers to mapping and strategies to navigate these barriers.


  • Dr. Ali Elbireer, ASLM
  • Dr. Amha Kebede, Ethiopian Public Health Institute
  • Prof. Wendy Stevens, South Africa National Health Laboratory Service