Labs for Life

Partners: Becton, Dickinson and Company

Location: Initial target countries include Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and India

Objective: To support quality laboratory systems which are needed in order to effectively scale-up HIV prevention, care, and treatment efforts

Becton Dickinson (BD), a medical technology company that manufactures medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment and diagnostics, is collaborating with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the second phase of a public-private partnership focused on strengthening laboratory systems in the developing world. The second phase of this partnership, Labs for Life, is valued at $20 million and will last for five years.

PEPFAR and BD are entering into Phase II of a partnership focused on supporting specific laboratory strengthening projects relevant to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care. BD contributions focus on providing technical assistance to improve general laboratory systems and practices including quality control and quality assurance. Initial target countries include India, Mozambique, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya.

Labs for Life builds on the success of the initial laboratory strengthening program and will focus on:

  • Quality improvement for laboratory services to attain national, regional, or international accreditation
  • Laboratory Human Resources training on pathology, forecasting and optimization
  • Curriculum development and training on equipment maintenance
  • Collaboration with the African Centre for Integrated Laboratory Training (ACILT) and the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) to strengthen local capacity and promote country ownership and sustainability
  • Use of HIV systems to address non-communicable diseases – such as diabetes – and creation of capabilities in health systems to adopt point-of-care technologies

Senior officials from PEPFAR and BD announced the new collaboration at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. in 2012. In addition to announcing the new collaboration, BD and PEPFAR also unveiled the results of a third-party assessment of their initial laboratory strengthening collaboration. Assessing the performance of this PPP, Cardno, an external auditing company, reported that countries where capacity-building took place have not only improved the quality of services available to local populations, but also have become regional centers of excellence in Africa. As noted by Cardno's evaluation, PEPFAR and BD's specimen referral and result reporting model has the potential to be replicated in other resource-limited countries to meet national needs for strengthening laboratory systems.