Seminar #18A

Emerging Technologies to Ensure Continued Competency of Laboratory Professionals and HIV Test Providers

CDC and University of New Mexico, School of Medicine

Invitations necessary; TBD

Monday, 5 December
CTICC room location: 2.41-2.43

Laboratory professionals, Program managers, medical technicians/Scientists, Implementing partners


With the adoption of “Test and Start” and Task Sharing in the context of HIV, there is an urgent need to ensure the accuracy of HIV testing prior to ART initiation. However, in spite of the rapid scale up of training programs in RLS, there are still some knowledge gaps to be addressed; hence retraining and mentoring of laboratorians and HIV test providers are of significant importance.

Because competency confirms the effectiveness of training, it would be important for countries to consider internet and mobile-based technology for mentoring opportunities (e.g., Project ECHO) or and distance learning platforms such as the Siemens Personalized Education Plan or PEP Connect.

These platforms have the potential to address some of the health care system’s most intractable problems, including inadequate or disparities in access to care, rising costs, systemic inefficiencies, and unequal or slow diffusion of best practices.

For example the ECHO model will offer the opportunity to exponentially expand workforce capacity to educate more individuals (health care workers, laboratory professionals and non-health professionals) involved in HIV Testing Services using existing resources. This model will enable learning by HIV testing provider while sharing best practices among themselves for accurate results and better patient care management.

During this seminar, an overview of some of the novel approaches will be presented and country experiences and lessons learned will be shared.


To promote the ECHO model as an innovative tool to mentor and improve the competency of health providers, particularly HIV testing providers in resource limited setting.


Dr Bruce Baird Struminger. MD, MA. University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. Albuquerque, New Mexico. USA. Associate Director, ECHO Institute. Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

Dr. Bruce Struminger graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Art History [1985] and from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences with an MA in Medical Anthropology [1999]. He earned his MD at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine [1998] and completed his residency in Internal Medicine [2002] at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Dr Struminger is an Internist and public health practitioner who served for six years with the US Indian Health Service on the Navajo Indian Reservation [2002-2006 & 20012-2014] and for six years with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as the Country Director in Côte d’Ivoire [2007-2009] and in Vietnam [2009-2012]. Dr Struminger transitioned to the University of New Mexico (UNM) in 2014 as an Associate Director of Project ECHO and an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine in the Department of Infectious Diseases; his clinical practice is based at UNM’s Truman Health Services, a community-based HIV clinic. At Project ECHO, his work focuses on supporting the NM ECHO clinics and on collaborations with the Indian Health Service and CDC, including both domestic and global initiatives.

Dr Mireille A Mpalang Kakubu. Medical Officer in charge of ART services. MoHSS. Namibia

Dr Kakubu is the Medical Officer in charge of ART services at Katutura Health Center, Khomas regional directorate at the Ministry of Health in Namibia. In this capacity she provides ongoing training and mentorship by video conference to different category of HCWs who are dealing with HIV patients. She has standardized HIV care in Namibia and improved quality of care. Dr Kakubu has create a platform with the objective of enforcing relationship between mentors and mentees. Between 2010-2015, she managed HIV and opportunistic infections in adults and children.  She managed HIV treatment failure and non-communicable diseases and reproductive health in PLHIV. She also provided primary health care services at the general outpatients department and HIV outreach services (Otjomuise, Dordabis, Groot Aub clinics). In 2009, she served as the Medical Officer for a Global Fund/MoHSS project based in Engela Hospital, Ohangwena region performed the same duties. Moreover, she participated in HIVQual activities.

Dr Peter Risha. Executive Director. Health Links Initative – Tanzania

Professionally a Senior Lecturer and Pharmacist with a PhD in Pharmaceutical sciences, has more than 25 years of working experience in the health system of in Tanzania. His main area of work has been on quality systems for the health sector and training. He has worked with the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority to design and implement a medicines quality assurance system that linked inspections to laboratory testing. With the successes observed during this project implementation, he also worked as a consultant to establish similar initiatives in Zambia and Rwanda. Between 2009 and 2012, He has also lead implementation of a health systems strengthening project for the National AIDS Control Program (NACP). The project focused on systematic improvement of quality of HIV and AIDS services in Tanzania. During this time, we have developed training materials for facility healthcare staff on basic principles of and approach to quality improvement.

Currently he working as the Executive director with Health Links Initiative (HLI), a locally established NGO, which is leading efforts to improve quality of HIV rapid testing initiative in four target regions across Tanzania.

Mr. Geoffrey Taasi. Uganda Ministry of Health. National HTC Coordinator

Geoffrey Taasi is an HIV prevention and public health specialist, with over 10years experience in HIV programming, reproductive health and development work. He is currently the National Coordinator for HIV Testing services (HTS) at the Ministry of Health in Uganda.

He has successfully steered and led the revision of the Uganda HIV Counseling and Testing guidelines. He has coordinated and supervised Quality Improvement Initiatives and Interventions including integrating QI in Pediatric HIV care, PMTCT and HTS. He is currently involved in the RTQII project and is steering the development of the HIV tester and site certification project. He also played a key role in the roll out of PITC in Uganda and the training of HIV testing for lay testers across the country. Taasi is a member of several TWGs and Task teams including chairing the National HTS TWG, the Key populations technical working group, the National Quality Improvement team. He is also a country representative for Health Information for all (HIFA), a platform for sharing knowledge, research to improve health care. His interests include research, innovations, cutting edge approaches to programming. Elimination of HIV and continuous quality improvement in health care are my passion.

Mr. Dumisani Mhlongo. National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). QA/QI Project Coordinator 

Mr. Mhlongo is a qualified Medical Technologist with National Diploma in Biomedical Technology, Project Management qualification, ISO 15189 SANAS Internal Technical Audit training. He has over 15 years clinical laboratory and virology experience and over 10 years combined experience in ISO 15189 internal audit, training of health care workers on Quality Management Systems and implementation of Quality Assurance Programme for HIV testing in public health facility settings. He has a responsibility to coordinate and manage QA/QI implementation activities with more focus on training, manage and allocate resources in support of the National Department of Health and the Provincial Departments of Health HIV Prevention Programmes to improve quality and reliability of HIV point-of-care testing.