UVRI-VHF Lab Wins Continental Best Laboratory Practicing ASLM2014 Award
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 11:36
17th December 2014
By Ssemwanga John Ross
Uganda Virus Research Institute-Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Lab won the best Laboratory practicing award on the 3rd December 2014 at the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM)conference in Cape Town, South Africa. The African Society for Laboratory Medicine is a premier African-wide association headquartered In Addis Ababa Ethiopia that promotes the advancement of professional laboratory medicine practice, science, systems and networks in Africa.
The two-yearly ASLM Awards Ceremony recognises individuals and laboratories committed to strengthening laboratory medicine and honours the dedication, innovation and perseverance of professionals who have overcome and addressed laboratory medicine challenges to make significant contributions in Africa. The Best Laboratory Practicing Award accorded to the UVRI laboratory was in recognition of its simple and innovative approaches that it has applied over the last 4 years to build nation-wide capacity for a robust surveillance program that has greatly contributed to early detection and improved control of VHF outbreaks, including Marburg and Ebola, in Uganda and the East and central African region.
Sagie Pillay, Co-Chair ALSM2014 Presenting the Award to Dr. Julius Lutwama and Trevor Shoemaker
About the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Lab
The Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Lab operates in the Arbovirology, Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases division at UVRI. Scientists at this lab work with the VHF viruses like Ebola and Marburg. The lab has demonstrated and served as a model to other laboratories in Africa in the VHF Surveillance, Detection, Response, Health Education, Diagnostics and Training since the first outbreak of Ebola in Uganda in the year 2000.
Since its re-setup in 2010, this laboratory has investigated up to 8 outbreaks of high hazard fevers in Uganda, including 3 outbreaks of Ebola (Luweero in 2011, Kibaale in 2012 and Luweero in 2012), 2 outbreaks of Marburg (Ibanda/Kabale in 2012 and Mpigi/Kampala in 2014) and 3 outbreaks of Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever (in Agago district, Wakiso district and Kampala city, respectively during 2013). The laboratory was also instrumental in the detection and control of an Ebola outbreak in Isiro, DRC in 2012, Yellow Fever in northern Uganda in 2010 and received the initial specimens of what eventually turned out to be an outbreak of Dengue hemorrhagic fever among AMISOM troops in Somalia.
The division with support from WHO AFRO office hosted a two day workshop on Laboratory Diagnostics on Ebola Viral infection by Real Time PCR in September 2014. The workshop brought together scientists, lab technicians and researchers from Senegal, Cameron, Liberia, and Madagascar- countries hit by the Ebola virus in Africa. During the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa and Marburg in Uganda October 2014, the VHF lab took lead in diagnosing Ebola and Marburg blood samples picked within Uganda and from suspected immigrants from Entebbe International Airport.
A Group Photo; From left to right Charles Kiyaga-CPHL, Joloba-Head TB Lab, Christina Mwangi- Head CDC UG, Trevor Shoemaker- Senior Epidemiologist UVRI/VHF, Alex Tumusiime-Lab Tech, Stephen Balinandi-Lab Tech UVRI/VHF, Opio Alex-Commisioner Ministry of health UG, Aisu Steven-Head CPHL and Dr. Julius Lutwama-Head Arbovirology UVRI
Dr. Lutwama Julius head of Arbovirology, Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases Division at UVRI received the Award with his team of Lab epidemiologists and technicians -Stephen Balinandi, Alex Tumusiime and Trevor Shoemaker a Senior Epidemiologist and other representatives from Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Ministry of Health Uganda. The ceremony brought together global leaders in lab research to address the role that professionals, systems and emerging technologies play in the laboratory services revolution within Africa with the scientific theme : ‘Innovation and Integration of Laboratory and Clinical Systems’.