Lab Matters Winter 2018 - Page 19

global health Strengthening the PHL System: Twinning in Botswana By Susan Madison-Antenucci, PhD, director, Parasitology, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health and Sherrie Staley, MPH, manager, Global Health “Twinning” is the building of a long-term relationship between a US public health laboratory and a partner in a low-middle income country to provide mentorship, generate sustainability and use global networking to improve public health systems. Botswana’s Ministry of Health (MOH) is transitioning their National Health Laboratory to a National Public Health Laboratory (PHL) under the newly formed Botswana Public Health Institute (BPHI). To assist with the transition, APHL and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Public Health Institute (NPHI) have linked MOH with the NY State Department of Public Health’s Wadsworth Center. The twinning partnership kicked off in 2017 with APHL and Wadsworth staff visiting Botswana, learning about their public health system and visiting public health and hospital laboratories. Three members of BPHI and the head of microbiology for the public hospital in Gaborone were able to visit Wadsworth, including all of the microbiology sections and the newborn screening laboratory. They met and learned from a number of experts during their visit, including the center’s director, members of the Division of Laboratory Quality, and a state epidemiologist. They also visited the microbiology laboratory at Albany Medical Center. (from l to r:) Susan Madison-Antenucci, Sherrie Staley, Patricia Munyadzwe, Tefelo Thela, Kereng Mphoyakgosi, and Margaret Mokomane. Photo: Wadsworth Center As the details of BPHI and the new PHL continue to be fleshed out, Wadsworth has helped to inform the process by sharing information such as their reportable diseases list, test menu, laboratory standards, personnel qualifications, organizational charts and SOPs. Botswana has had great success with HIV testing and treatment and aims to build on this success to reduce the incidence of malaria and intestinal infections. Moving forward, Botswana scientists hope to host an emergency preparedness expert and schedule a longer visit to Wadsworth for an in-depth review of the Institute’s operations. In the meantime, contacts are sharing information by email. This promising twinning partnership is off to a strong start. n PublicHealthLabs @APHL Patricia Munyadzwe and Tefelo Thela from Botswana MOH learning from expert at Wadsworth during a twinning exchange visit. Photo: Wadsworth Center Susan Madison-Antenucci visits Botswana Ministry of Health Laboratories Winter 2018 LAB MATTERS 17