Round Table #6

Non-Communicable Disease Pathology in Africa

No invitations necessary; open to all conference registrants

Wednesday, 7 December 2016
CTICC room location: 2.4


One of the barriers to clinicians’ use of pathology and laboratory results in many African countries is their poor quality, unreliability and limited infrastructure capacity. These factors also have a direct impact on clinician’s trust and limited engagements with pathology specialist. Significant resources by multiple organizations (ASLM, ASCP, WHO, CDC, and others) are now being invested in the clinical laboratory infrastructure of sub Saharan Africa to address the underlying quality problems. Significant progress is reported in the improvement of the quality of results in participating laboratories. However, initiatives to improve clinicians’ trust-in, knowledge-of and engagement-in the clinical laboratory and pathology are lacking. In this symposium we will:

  1. Highlight African laboratories that have achieved quality certification and define the possible forces that have led to this.
  2. Discuss a proposed list of minimum laboratory tests that need to be present in a healthcare facility based on the WHO list of basic medications.
  3. Explore and recommend efforts on how to strengthen communication between clinicians and pathologists and other laboratory workers regarding clinical laboratory diagnostics.
  4. Showcase a different approach to teaching pathologic diagnosis of cancer using case-based learning. The ability to make specific diagnoses (rather than syndromic diagnoses) by improving knowledge and understanding of pathology diagnostics and laboratory medicine will enhance patient care at the individual, community and public health level. Engagements with clinicians and having clinician advocates for pathology diagnostic excellence will provide for mitigating interventions that are needed to render adequate diagnoses, including, improvements in the quality of collected specimens. The creation of a list of basic laboratory tests that mirrors the WHO list of basic medications is needed so that hospitals can implement them when they are treating specific diseases. Governments can also use the list to define the minimum laboratory tests that need to be conducted for diagnosing diseases. Being more effective in teaching aspects of pathological diagnosis to practicing pathologists in Africa will also bring awareness of the number of cancer cases that are present on the continent.  Efforts to increase communication between laboratory scientists and clinicians  are imperative to ensure efficient use of resources available and the improvement of clinicians’ trust-in, knowledge-of and engagement-in the clinical laboratory which is paramount for patient care and public health.


  • Jeannette Guarner, Emory University, United States
  • Babatyi Malope-Kgokong, National Health Laboratory Service, South Africa


Presentation Topic 1
Timothy Amukele, Johns Hopkins University, United States

Presentation Topic 2
Shahin Sayed, Aga Khan University, Kenya

Presentation Topic 3
Harold Kaura, Namibia Institute of Pathology Limited