CMLF Laboratory Strengthening Component – Improving Laboratory Support for Key Populations.
In meeting the 90-90-90 targets established by the Caribbean, it is critical to recognize that testing is the first point of access to the continuum of care for vulnerable populations and is central and critical to achieving each of the 90-90-90 targets by 2020 and an AIDS-free generation by 2030.
Laboratories underpin all aspects of HIV treatment and care, prevention and control programmes.
The work that takes place at community testing sites and within laboratories relates directly to quality of life issues and is necessary to:
- identify individuals infected with HIV,
- provide key CD4, viral load, biochemical and haematological information for management of patients on treatment
- identify resistance or viral suppression in patients on treatment, and
- identify opportunistic infections such as TB, and sexually transmitted infections to ensure appropriate interventions.
Moreover, as people with HIV live longer and longer, laboratories have become essential to managing the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) emerging among this population.
Under this project, the laboratory interventions will:
- Expand access to HIV/STI and TB quality assured diagnostic testing within vulnerable populations.
- Facilitate arrangements for sustaining access to viral load testing.
- Strengthen the referral lab network to support HIV/STI and TB.
- Establish a system of referral for HIV Drug Resistance (DR) testing and carry out a study of HIV DR to determine existing levels of resistance.
- Assist the OECS Pharmaceutical Procurement Service to centralise procurement of laboratory reagents and supplies for HIV/STI diagnosis and treatment, to reduce costs and stock-outs.
- Support adaptation and implementation of national lab policies in the OECS to ensure that laboratory services are strengthened for HIV and other critical programmes for vulnerable populations.
- Assist countries to adapt and adopt model legislation (developed under PANCAP GF R9 Grant) to support the effective implementation of lab policies.
- Develop and disseminate advocacy materials to support policy and legislative implementation.
- Develop guidance for structuring lab data management systems that support more effective monitoring of compliance with treatment guidelines.
- Provide guidance for laboratory data management – through training workshops and online training.
- Provide support for lab quality assurance including proficiency testing and equipment maintenance.
- Design a mechanism for monitoring and oversight of lab services within the OECS.
- Conduct assessments of public laboratories within OECS for certification under Tier 1 of the Laboratory Quality Management System- Stepwise Improvement Process (LQMS-SIP).
- Support laboratory strengthening to meet Tier 1 requirements through workshops and online training.
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