The Sixth Biennial Conference of the African Society of Laboratory Medicine (ASLM2023) concluded, leaving a resonating call to action for the integration of diagnostics across disease programs.
The directors of medical and public health laboratories from African Union member states, who convened at the conference, urged national governments, donors, partners, and implementers to allocate resources to laboratory directorates, ensuring effective oversight of all national diagnostic services.
Key figures in attendance, including Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, Minister of Health, Uganda; Dr Holenn Serge Emmanuel, Deputy Minister of Health, DRC; Dr Yenew Kebede, Africa CDC; Mr Nqobile Ndlovu, CEO of ASLM; and Dr Susan Nabadda, Laboratory Directors Forum (LABDF), emphasized the need for visibility in budget allocations, programmatic plans, funding streams, and decision-making processes related to diagnostics and laboratory activities.
Expressing concern over persistent gaps in delivering critical laboratory and diagnostic services within the African region, the signatories highlighted the crucial role played by laboratory and diagnostic services in providing high-quality clinical care, epidemic preparedness, and early detection and response to emerging outbreaks.
The ASLM2023 conference, held in Cape Town, South Africa, spanned four days with the theme “Shaping Laboratory Systems and Diagnostics Services for the 21st Century: Embracing the Change”.
The event attracted 1,200 delegates from five continents, featuring representatives from 58 countries, 55 expert speakers, 50 presentations, and 44 exhibitors.
Partners included the African Union, Africa CDC, and the South African Laboratory Diagnostics Association.
Roche Africa took on the role of the strategic sponsor for ASLM2023, while SD Biosensor, Hologic, and Abbott secured the gold category sponsorship.
Eight sponsors, including Illumina, Beckman Coulter, Cepheid, Lasec, Qiagen, Sysmex, Siemens Healthcare, and ThermoFisher Scientific, contributed to the bronze category.
As the curtains fall on ASLM2023, the focus now turns to the future, with the next ASLM likely to take place in Morocco.