01 June 2021
In May, the African Society for Laboratory Medicine held a webinar with support from the Global Fund to provide overall guidance on the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM) to Laboratory Directorates of the continent. The meeting gathered more than 360 participants representing 64 countries. A feedback poll done during the webinar revealed that 49% of the 90 respondents were not currently engaged with Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs) to participate in the development of C19RM funding requests.
The Global Fund promotes active participation of a broad range of in-country stakeholders to ensure success in the fight against COVID-19. The involvement of laboratory leadership and National Laboratory Directorates in C19RM funding request development is highly important, considering that around 15% of C19RM investments are dedicated to laboratory commodities and consumables.
The Global Fund encourages CCMs to proactively reach out to Laboratory Directorates and other key opinion leaders within Ministries of Health and relevant partners, to solicit their participation in the consultative process for developing funding proposals.
In addition, participation of these stakeholders in round-table discussions and debates is essential to foster intra- and inter- agency dialog, prioritizing and operationalizing workplans, and ensuring that future proposed interventions are well aligned with National Strategic Plans.
Lab representatives’ participation is particularly critical during the current response to the COVID-19 crisis, where strengthening diagnostic testing capacity is central to control and containment efforts, enhancing pandemic preparedness systems and optimizing the use of the resources.