An oral history of medical laboratory development in francophone West African countries

African Journal of Laboratory Medicine

Field Value
Title An oral history of medical laboratory development in francophone West African countries
Creator Koster, Winny Ndione, Albert G. Adama, Mourfou Guindo, Ibrehima Sow, Iyane Diallo, Souleymane Sakandé, Jean Ondoa, Pascale
Subject History; Social Science oral history; medical laboratory; Senegal; Burkina Faso; Mali
Description Background: Underdeveloped and underused medical laboratories in sub-Saharan Africa negatively affect the diagnosis and appropriate treatment of ailments.Objective: We identified political, disease-related and socio-economic factors that have shaped the laboratory sector in Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso to inform laboratory-strengthening programmes.Methods: We searched peer-reviewed and grey literature from February 2015 to December 2018 on laboratory and health systems development from colonial times to the present and conducted in-depth interviews with 73 key informants involved in (inter)national health or laboratory policy, organisation, practice or training. This article depended on the key informants’ accounts due to the paucity of literature on laboratory development in francophone West African countries. Literature and interview findings were triangulated and are presented chronologically.Results: Until around 1990 there were a few disease-specific research laboratories; only the larger hospitals and district health facilities housed a rudimentary laboratory. The 1990s brought the advent of donor-dictated, vertical, endemic and epidemic disease programmes and laboratories. Despite decentralising from the national level to the regional and district levels, these vertical laboratory programmes biased national health resource allocation deleteriously neglecting the development of the horizontal, general-health laboratory. After the year 2000, the general-health laboratory system received more attention when, influenced by the World Health Organization, national networks and (sub-)directorates of laboratories were installed.Conclusion: To advance national general healthcare, as opposed to disease-specific healthcare, national laboratory directors and experts in general laboratory development should be consulted when national policies are made with potential laboratory donors.
Publisher AOSIS
Contributor Netherland Organization for Scientific Research, Science for Global Development (NWO/WOTRO) W07.4.203.00s
Date 2021-03-16
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — In-depth interviews with key-informants; literature review
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/ajlm.v10i1.1157
Source African Journal of Laboratory Medicine; Vol 10, No 1 (2021); 10 pages 2225-2010 2225-2002
Language eng
Coverage Mali; Burkina Faso; Senegal Colonial times - present Stakeholders in laboratory development
Rights Copyright (c) 2021 Winny Koster, Albert Ndione, Mourfou Adama, Ibrehima Guindo, Iyane Sow, Souleymane Diallo, Jean Sakandé, Pascale Ondoa