Creation of the Regional TB Working Group on Laboratory in the Americas
One of the priorities for the implementation of the Stop TB Strategy and the Regional Plan for Tuberculosis
2006-2015 in the Americas is to strengthen national laboratory networks to meet the need for diagnosis of
pulmonary and extrapulmonary tuberculosis, drug-sensitive or resistant, associated or not with HIV.
Since 2004, PAHO organizes an annual meeting of the TB Supranational Reference Laboratories (SNLs) for the Americas
with the National Reference Laboratories of priority countries to strengthen the laboratory capacity to respond to the needs of
the Stop TB Strategy. In the 2009 meeting, funded by USAID, the group of SNLs decided to become the
Laboratory Working Group on tuberculosis for the Americas to assist PAHO’s Regional TB Program.
The members of this working group include:
- Massachusetts State Laboratory Institute, United States (supranational laboratory)
- Mycobacteriology/TB Laboratory, CDC, Atlanta, United States (supranational laboratory)
- Public Health Institute, Santiago, Chile (supranational laboratory)
- National Institute for Infectious Diseases, Buenos Aires, Argentina (supranational laboratory)
- Pasteur Institute of Guadeloupe, Guadeloupe, France (supranational laboratory)
- Institute for Diagnosis and Epidemiological Reference InDRE, Mexico DF, Mexico (supranational laboratory)
- Pedro Kouri Institute, Havana, Cuba (Collaborating Center)
- National Institute for Respiratory Diseases, Santa Fe, Argentina (Collaborating Center)
The working group’s objectives are to:
- Identify and prioritize the needs of the Region’s laboratory networks.
- Prepare and/or adapt regulations, technical guides, standard operating procedures, technical specifications, and position papers for the Region to guide the policies and activities of the Region’s TB laboratory networks.
- Issue recommendations for the adoption of new technologies, based on an evaluation of the evidence, and provide technical support for the introduction and quality control of new diagnostic techniques.
- Provide technical assistance to the national TB laboratories and laboratory networks to accelerate laboratory capacity building through: situation analysis and the identification of critical points and areas of opportunity; identification of specific strategies that will make it possible to boost technical capacity and improve laboratory technical assistance for TB control; and programming of activities.
- Conduct specific evaluations based on the needs identified by the NTP, the national reference laboratory, or the management of the laboratory network in the countries.
- Design and contribute to the development of a program to upgrade the skills of human resources at the central and reference levels and offer training in:
- Laboratory management and networks;
- Management and analytical interpretation of information
- Quality management programs
- Laboratory techniques and procedures
- Biosafety in the laboratory
- Carry out missions to evaluate or monitor laboratory networks with a team that also includes the components of the NTP.
- Prepare and/or coordinate the preparation of scientific papers on different aspects of TB laboratories.
- Encourage, guide, and coordinate research that will make it possible to learn about and strengthen the technical capacity of the Region’s laboratory networks.