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Laboratory Training Program Brings Together MHRP, Nigerian Military and the U.S. Public Health Service

January 19, 2011
Eight U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) officers were deployed to MHRP’s site in Lagos, Nigeria to participate in a malaria diagnostics and laboratory capacity building training exercise. This program provided hands-on education and practical experience in

In September, 2010, eight U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) officers were deployed to MHRP’s site in Lagos, Nigeria to participate in a malaria diagnostics and laboratory capacity building training exercise. This program provided hands-on education and practical experience in the field, enhancing their readiness and proficiency.

This five-day course in Nigeria consisted of didactic and practical training, and included practice assessments at Nigerian health facilities. Lectures, training on laboratory procedures and hands-on assessments enhanced their knowledge in the field of malaria, malaria diagnostics and general laboratory capacity building. Training took place at one of the Nigerian Ministry of Defense - Department of Defense (NMOD-DOD) HIV Program facilities (445 Nigerian Air Force Hospital Laboratory; NMOD-DOD Reference Laboratory) and included examples of advanced development. Training focused on malaria epidemiology, the life cycle of the malaria parasite, the clinical management of malaria infection, as well as malaria diagnosis and smear microscopy. Participants also received instruction on evaluating infrastructure, equipment, human capacity, quality control/quality assessment (QA/QC), network capability, logistics, workload, leadership and management. Finally, the training program included three Nigerian clinical laboratories assessment activities. The laboratory assessment exercises were designed to enhance laboratory performance and quality by providing feedback to laboratory managers and staff regarding their work environment. They also served as an opportunity for technical experts, customers, and stakeholders to exchange views. 

Attending the class along with the eight PHS officers were nine members of the NMOD. One NMOD officer enjoyed the fact that the training covered “a wide area of information including quality control, quality assurance and laboratory techniques. This week directly helped us build off of recent training.” Another officer appreciated how the training “went from theoretical to the practical: and very much looked forward to passing on the new skills to other clinics in the area.”

This course provided a cadre of highly trained laboratorians, clinicians, and other technical and administrative staff the training and opportunity to perform assessments in a manner that ensures standardization and quality. The course gave attendees the tools necessary to conduct initial and follow-up (QA) laboratory assessments, generate reports or recommendations, and taught attendees how to develop work-plans for existing sites and perform assessments of future expansion sites. Additionally, the course provided personnel with an understanding of cross-cultural sensitivities and cross-governmental understandings of government programs, legislative and policy requirements.  

This course was a true demonstration of an effective multi-lateral program between the PHS, MHRP and an international military partner. The rewards of the training program will continue to multiply as those individuals of the NMOD share their knowledge and skills with their counterparts throughout the country.