New Mobile Laboratory is Ready-To-Go for Infectious Disease Response and Prevention

The new mobile laboratory will support the surveillance of and response to infectious disease outbreaks in Madagascar
The new mobile laboratory will support the surveillance of and response to infectious disease outbreaks in Madagascar
Photo: USAID / Charlotte Steppling

The mobile laboratory, donated by the U.S. government, will support Madagascar's Ministry of Public Health through the program of the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar

For Immediate Release

Thursday, September 19, 2019

ANTANANARIVO — As part of the fight against infectious diseases, the United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has financed the purchase of a new mobile laboratory to support the surveillance of and response to infectious disease outbreaks in Madagascar.  The mobile laboratory, which consists of a contained medical laboratory mounted on the back of an off-road vehicle, will be operated by the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar (IPM) in support of the Ministry of Public Health’s division of disease surveillance and response.

Valued at $ 200,000, the mobile laboratory has high-tech laboratory equipment and can navigate even very bad roads.

At the inauguration ceremony for the mobile laboratory, held on Thursday, September 19, 2019, at the campus of IPM, the United States Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr. Stuart R. Wilson, said, “Now the victims of plague and other epidemics will get a diagnosis and receive the appropriate care as quickly as possible.  All the technicians and drivers have been trained and this mobile laboratory is ready for use!”

The inauguration event was also attended by the Minister of Public Health, Prof. Julio Rakotonirina, and key members of the donor community, including a representative of the French Embassy and the World Health Organization Country Representative.   USAID, IPM, PSI and the Ministry of Public Health collaborate closely on epidemic control and public health research.

The need for the mobile unit was first identified during the 2017 plague outbreak.  The mobile laboratory performs advanced lab tests, including microbiological analyses and field investigations in remote areas.  The laboratory will facilitate outbreak investigations for several infectious diseases of public health importance, including malaria, plague, and measles.  Because the mobile lab can identify quickly and reliably the germs in an outbreak warning, it works as a complementary tool for reference laboratories (National Reference Center and WHO Collaborating Center), and provides vital support to the Ministry of Public Health in surveillance of diseases with epidemic potential.

In the event of suspected grouped cases or outbreak, the lab can be made quickly available at the request of the Ministry, and will conduct on-site biological diagnosis to confirm the epidemiological diagnosis, thus saving time for the health authorities to provide rapid, appropriate and effective responses to outbreaks.

Last updated: November 07, 2019

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