In resource-limited countries with high burdens of infectious disease, the need for laboratory diagnostic services has outpaced capacity. This disparity has impeded TB, HIV, and Malaria control efforts, particularly among individuals who are co-infected. In response to this need, CDC and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) helped establish the African Centre for Integrated Laboratory Training (ACILT). ACILT develops and presents hands-on training courses for front-line laboratory staff. It also presents courses for program managers, strategic planner, and policy makers so that critical laboratory issues are understood and appropriately supported by host governments.
Vision: ACILT provides for a healthier Africa through quality laboratory practices to combat major infectious diseases.
ACILT is located on the campus of the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), in Johannesburg, South Africa. ACILT is owned by the NICD and NHLS and benefits from a Governance Board consisting of experts from collaborating institutions including:
- South Africa Ministry of Health
- World Health Organization
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- US Agency for International Development
- Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria
- Becton Dickinson, Inc.
The International Laboratory Branch of CDC's Division of Global AIDS provides ongoing technical assistance and expert instructors to ACILT for the course development and delivery. This includes working with international partners to ensure the use of standardized laboratory supplies for the courses.
ACILT is responding to Africa's rapidly growing demand for a well-trained, competent, and motivated laboratory workforce. It launched the first courses in the fall of 2008 on Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) of HIV using molecular detection from dried blood spots (DBS); followed by a course on Laboratory Methods for culture and identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Since then, based on the needs generated in countries, state-of-the-art courses, including Basic Medical Technician, Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA), TB smear microscopy, Practical Approaches to Monitor and Improve the Quality of HIV rapid Testing, BED incidence testing, Bio-safety and Infrastructure development, Line Probe assay for TB, National Laboratory Strategic Planning (NLSP) have been offered to more than 300 participants from over 20 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean regions.
Ms. Elsie van Schalkwyk is the current Director of ACILT, and works collaboratively with Dr. Earl Long, the resident Laboratory Director at the CDC South Africa office.
How to Participate
There are no tuition fees for the courses, but home governments or institutions are expected to pay travel and lodging expenses for each participant. Lunches during the courses will be provided. For participants to be accepted into each course, it is expected that they will be able to practice and implement their new knowledge and skills when they return to their host countries.
For more information on upcoming trainings and how to enroll in the courses please refer to the calendar below and write to Elsie van Schalkwyk (Elsie.vSchalkwyk@nhls.ac.za), Director of ACILT, or to Ritu Shrivastava (RShrivastava1@cdc.gov), ACILT Coordinator at CDC Atlanta.