New Public-Private Partnership to Strengthen Laboratory Systems (Updated January 2009)


In a pioneering public-private partnership, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Emergency Plan/PEPFAR) and BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) will support the improvement of overall laboratory systems and services in African countries severely affected by HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB).

Through this five-year, public-private partnership, valued at up to $18 million, the Emergency Plan and BD will work on the ground with national reference laboratories, Ministries of Health, and implementing partners to provide direct support to countries to assist with their efforts to strengthen laboratories. This collaboration will initially target Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique, and South Africa and will potentially extend to additional countries.

In the first year, it is estimated that this public-private partnership will increase laboratory capacity by 15 to 20% over what PEPFAR would have achieved in the absence of the collaboration.

Through this public-private partnership, PEPFAR and BD will collaborate on five key areas:

  • Supporting country-specific programs working on the ground with Ministries of Health and implementing partners to develop overarching, integrated laboratory systems, services, and quality-improvement strategies;
  • Improving the quality of laboratory diagnostics critical to the management of HIV/AIDS patients;
  • Implementing quality-control and quality-assurance guidelines and supervisory tools for hematology, chemistry, CD4 testing and rapid HIV testing;
  • Strengthening TB reference sites to serve as centralized training facilities; and
  • Improving access to TB diagnostics for HIV-positive patients.

How will this partnership support the strengthening of laboratory systems?

  • BD currently provides training on specific clinical and laboratory procedures which are vital to building health care capacity and sustainability. PEPFAR and BD collaboration will leverage this expertise and experience, by focusing on providing technical assistance to improve general laboratory systems and practices, including quality control and quality assurance.
  • The link between TB and HIV/AIDS is a growing global health problem. In fact, TB is the leading cause of death for people with HIV. In addition to improving laboratory diagnostics for HIV/AIDS, this partnership also will work to rapidly improve existing TB diagnostic capacity. Specifically, the partnership will improve training materials and practices for TB diagnostics in order to improve the diagnosis and management of TB infection in people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Experience in sub-Saharan Africa has demonstrated that weak health care systems contribute to the spread of diseases like HIV/AIDS and TB. This public-private partnership enables PEPFAR and BD to apply collaborative knowledge, expertise and resources to building those systems for sustainable improvements in health care in the region.

Activities will be implemented through three primary means:

  • Country-specific laboratory strengthening programs that offer PEPFAR and BD opportunities to share their respective strengths, experience, methodologies, and resources, in collaboration with other implementing partners
  • Fellowship programs for BD staff to work with Ministries of Health, PEPFAR agencies and national reference laboratories. BD plans to deploy one to two associates for longer- term fellowships each year.
  • Short-term technical assistance from PEPFAR and BD staff to country programs, which focuses on laboratory training and provides a framework to reach all levels of service. In the first year, BD anticipates they will deploy 25 to 30 people for short term technical assistance, and that this number will increase to 50 to 60 people in subsequent years of the collaboration.

About BD:

  • BD, a leading global medical technology company that manufactures and sells medical devices, instrument systems and reagents, is dedicated to improving people’s health throughout the world. BD is focused on improving drug therapy, enhancing the quality and speed of diagnosing infectious diseases, and advancing research into the discovery of new drugs and vaccines. The Company’s capabilities are instrumental in combating many of the world’s most pressing diseases.
  • Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, BD employs approximately 28,000 people in approximately 50 countries throughout the world. The Company serves health care institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, industry and the general public.

About PEPFAR:

  • The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is the largest commitment ever by a single nation toward an international health initiative — a comprehensive approach to combating HIV/AIDS around the world. 
  • On July 30, 2008, the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008 was signed into law, authorizing up to $48 billion over the next 5 years to combat global HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Global AIDS Program (GAP), is the lead implementing agency for strengthening laboratory systems in PEPFAR.

Importance of Public-Private Partnerships:

  • Recognizing that partnerships are powerful and critical to scaling-up and sustaining programs for the long term, the U.S. Congress authorized PEPFAR to promote public-private partnerships as a priority element of the U.S. strategy to combat the HIV/ AIDS pandemic and other global health crises. PEPFAR has fostered public-private partnerships that support and complement its prevention, treatment, and care strategies.

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