Laboratory professionals in Africa receive training under AIDS Relief Plan

09/28/05

CHICAGO (September 28, 2005) The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) announced that the Society will receive approximately $1.5 million in federal funds to continue to provide laboratory training and quality improvement programs in African countries severely affected by AIDS. The training programs are for medical laboratory professionals in Africa and will continue in 2006 through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

The funding comes from the United States Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS/CDC). The money will allow the Chicago-based ASCP to continue its involvement in a cooperative agreement program with CDC. ASCP's role in the program is to provide laboratory training and quality improvement programs for diagnosis and laboratory monitoring of HIV/AIDS patients in resource-limited countries as part of the Emergency Plan.

"Ultimately, this program will serve to enhance laboratory testing practices and the quality of laboratory testing services, in order to improve the effectiveness of HIV diagnostic, care, and treatment services and interventions," said LoAnn Peterson, MD, FASCP, ASCP President. The award will be made for a 12-month budget period, within a project period of up to four years.

The Emergency Plan is a $15 billion international relief effort. In addition to Ethiopia and Zambia, targeted nations include Botswana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Haiti, Guyana, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Viet Nam. ASCP will be working in Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Lesotho and Swaziland.

In the past year, 14 ASCP volunteer members have played roles assessing the situation in Africa, serving as trainers, and participating in Work Groups developing training materials.

Estimates are that some 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in developing nations. In Zambia, for instance, some 1.2 million people are affected by the condition. The disease has affected nearly one in five adults and orphaned 650,000 children. In Ethiopia, government officials estimate that more than four million citizens are infected with the HIV virus and about one-third of all Ethiopian hospital beds are occupied by HIV carriers.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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