African Society for Laboratory Medicine launches 6th Biennial Conference in Cape Town

African Society for Laboratory Medicine launches 6th Biennial Conference in Cape Town
Health ASLM

Cape Town, – The African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) officially opened its 6th Biennial Conference at the CTICC in Cape Town, South Africa, themed “Shaping laboratory systems and diagnostic services for the 21st century: embracing change.”

Dr Anban Pillay, Deputy Director General of the South Africa National Department of Health, officiated the opening and praised the event for bringing together dedicated minds focused on transforming healthcare in Africa through laboratory science.

Dr. Pillay highlighted the significance of the ASLM Conference since its inception in 2012, emphasizing the commitment to rediscover, reimagine, and redefine laboratory medicine.

He mentioned the 2008 Maputo Declaration on Strengthening Laboratory Systems, which committed African countries to elevate laboratory systems, and the Ministerial Call for Action at the ASLM 2012 conference that outlined key areas of action.

As the world navigates the aftermath of the pandemic, Dr. Pillay emphasized the need for adaptability and innovation in reshaping the African healthcare landscape.

ASLM CEO, Mr Nqobile Ndlovu, shared diagnostic findings from 2021 indicating that about 47% of the global population lacked access to diagnostics, a concerning statistic amid the triple threat of infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases, and malnutrition, amplified by climate change and frequent outbreaks.

Mr Ndlovu outlined ASLM's 2021 strategy plan with four pillars: Strengthening the laboratory workforce, ensuring access to quality diagnostics, improving laboratory systems efficiency, and empowering African communities.

He acknowledged the challenges in access, resource constraints, fragmented data management, infrastructure issues, and regulatory compliance but expressed optimism, especially with the passing the Strengthening Diagnostics Capacity bill globally.

He highlighted the historic passing of the Regional Strategy on Diagnostics and Laboratory Services and Systems in July 2023 for the World Health Organization African Region, placing Africa at the centre to define and change the future of diagnostics.

Ndlovu mentioned the newly added Future of Diagnostics initiative, which aims to identify and prioritize key enablers, opportunities, and solutions for improved regional diagnostics services.

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