The Probitas Foundation offers a course on modernising laboratory techniques for personnel at a hospital and two health centres in the Kigoma region of Tanzania

The Probitas Foundation offers a course on modernising laboratory techniques for personnel at a hospital and two health centres in the Kigoma region of Tanzania

  • The program, in addition to addressing the main diseases in the region, seeks to improve the diagnosis of malaria, one of the prevalent diseases in the area
Over a year ago the Probitas Foundation initiated a project within the Global Laboratory Initiative (GLI) program in the Kigoma region of Tanzania. The objective is to bolster local health systems through laboratories by improving infrastructures, the acquisition of equipment, and the training of health personnel, with a special stress on the diagnosis of malaria, an endemic disease in the country that causes many deaths.

The project was initiated in collaboration with the Red Cross of both Spain and Tanzania, together with the country's Health Ministry. Likewise, and through a framework agreement signed with the Vall d'Hebrón Research Institute (VHIR) at the beginning of the year, it was possible to benefit from the contributions of a microbiologist for the course on the modernisation of diagnostic techniques. The purpose of this collaboration by the VHIR is to concretise and jointly promote, in concert with the Probitas Foundation, a series of actions spanning various areas, such as providing support for Microbiology courses forming part of GLI projects, in this specific case providing guidance on microbiology issues, helping to train laboratory personnel, and conducting telemedicine sessions via videoconferences, among other actions.

Actions undertaken by the programme
Specifically, GLI-Kigoma operates at the hospital in Kasulu and at the health centres in Makere and Kiganamo, reinforcing their infrastructures, providing them with lab equipment, reagents and work material and training personnel. In addition to these actions, the project also works to decentralise health care in rural and difficult-to-access areas, and to provide incentives for community work, with the aim of increasing the flow of patients to these health centres.

The visit to Kigoma
As part of the GLI programme, one of the pending actions this year was a course to update the staff's laboratory techniques at the different facilities. From July 10 to 21 the Project Manager of the GLI program, Mercè Claret, travelled to Kigoma in order to teach a refresher course in Haematology and Microbiology for medical staff at labs in Kasulu, Makere and Kiganamo. She was accompanied by a microbiologist from the Vall d'Hebrón Hospital in Barcelona, Zaira Moure, who also taught some of the classes.

The course lasted for two weeks and was attended by 18 students from the three health centres in Kigoma. Classroom sessions were combined with laboratory practice.

The course was taught in English and Swahili (local language). The course also featured a teacher from Tanzania's Ministry of Health, who provided his knowledge, taught some sessions, helped with translations of the classes into Swahili, and provided support where needed.

Project assessment
The training phase of GLIs is very important because it is essential that the health personnel know how to use the laboratory equipment provided by the Foundation, and that they be up to date on basic laboratory diagnosis techniques and management.

After the visit, the next step to be taken by Probitas is to install software in the laboratories at the hospital in Kasulu and health centres in Kiganamo centres in order to facilitate the data management process. The project will be monitored over the coming months to evaluate its progress and stress will be placed on community issues that may improve health in the local populations.

The GLI-Kigoma programme, according to the latest follow-up report, is directly benefiting 180,042 people and indirectly serving 685,470.

Through the implementation of projects like this one, the Probitas Foundation helps to improve the medical resources and well-being of the people in different regions around the world who suffer from a lack of resources and/or knowledge in the field of health. Along this line, Probitas seeks to transfer experience, resources and knowledge in the health field to the most vulnerable populations, as an instrument for change and social transformation.