Lessons from the Field

Laboratory organisation and management of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Niger, West Africa

Abdourahamane Yacouba, Adamou Lagaré, Daouada Alhousseini Maiga, Halimatou Moumouni Sambo, Sani Ousmane, Zelika Hamidou Harouna, Boubacar Marou, Maman K. Sanoussi, Balki Aoula, Ali Amadou, Hassane Boureima, Saidou Amatagas, Abdoulaye Ousmane, Eric Adehossi, Saidou Mamadou
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 9, No 1 | a1308 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v9i1.1308 | © 2020 Abdourahamane Yacouba, Adamou Lagaré, Daouada Alhousseini Maiga, Halimatou Moumouni Sambo, Sani Ousmane, Zelika Hamidou Harouna, Boubacar Marou, Maman Kabirou Sanoussi, Balki Aoula, Ali Amadou, Hassane Boureima, Saidou Amatagas, Abdoulaye Ousmane, Eric Adehossi, Saidou Mamadou | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 June 2020 | Published: 21 December 2020

About the author(s)

Abdourahamane Yacouba, Moumouni, Niamey, Niger; and, Laboratory Team COVID-19, Niamey, Niger
Adamou Lagaré, Laboratory Team COVID-19, Niamey, Niger; and, Centre de Recherche Médicale et Sanitaire, Niamey, Niger
Daouada Alhousseini Maiga, Faculté des Sciences de la Santé, Université Abdou Moumouni, Niamey, Niger; and, Laboratory Team COVID-19, Niamey, Niger
Halimatou Moumouni Sambo, Laboratory Team COVID-19, Niamey, Niger; and, Direction des Laboratoires de Santé, Ministère de la Santé Publique, Niamey, Niger
Sani Ousmane, Laboratory Team COVID-19, Niamey, Niger; and, Centre de Recherche Médicale et Sanitaire, Niamey, Niger
Zelika Hamidou Harouna, Laboratory Team COVID-19, Niamey, Niger; and, Hôpital National Amirou Boubacar Diallo, Niamey, Niger
Boubacar Marou, Faculté des Sciences de la Santé, Université Abdou Moumouni, Niamey, Niger
Maman K. Sanoussi, Laboratory Team COVID-19, Niamey, Niger
Balki Aoula, Laboratory Team COVID-19, Niamey, Niger
Ali Amadou, Laboratory Team COVID-19, Niamey, Niger; and, Hôpital de l’Amitié Niger-Turquie, Niamey, Niger
Hassane Boureima, Laboratory Team COVID-19, Niamey, Niger; and, Hôpital Général de Référence de Maradi, Maradi, Niger
Saidou Amatagas, Laboratory Team COVID-19, Niamey, Niger; and, Hôpital National de Zinder, Zinder,, Niger
Abdoulaye Ousmane, Faculté des Sciences de la Santé, Université Dan Dicko Dankoulodo de Maradi, Maradi, Niger
Eric Adehossi, Faculté des Sciences de la Santé, Université Abdou Moumouni, Niamey, Niger; and, COVID-19 Experts Group, Niamey, Niger
Saidou Mamadou, Faculté des Sciences de la Santé, Université Abdou Moumouni, Niamey, Niger; COVID-19 Experts Group, Niamey, Niger


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Abstract

Background: As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic unfolds, laboratory services have been identified as key to its containment. This article outlines the laboratory organisation and management and control interventions in Niger.

Intervention: The capitol city of Niger, Niamey, adopted a ‘National COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan’ to strengthen the preparedness of the country for the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2. Laboratory training and diagnostic capacity building were supported by existing active clinical and research laboratories for more rapid and practicable responses. The National Reference Laboratory for Respiratory Viruses located at the Centre de Recherche Médicale et Sanitaire was designated as the reference centre for COVID-19 testing. The national plan for COVID-19 testing is being gradually adopted in other regions of the country in response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 emergency and to ensure a more rapid turn-around time.

Lessons learnt: After the decentralisation of COVID-19 testing to other regions of the country, turn-around times were reduced from 48–72 h to 12–24 h. Reducing turn-around times allowed Niger to reduce the length of patients’ stays in hospitals and isolation facilities. Shortages in testing capacity must be anticipated and addressed. In an effort to reduce risk of shortages and increase availability of reagents and consumables, Niamey diversified real-time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction kits for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 detection.

Recommendations: Continued investment in training programmes and laboratory strategy is needed in order to strengthen Niger’s laboratory capacity against the outbreak.


Keywords

severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus disease 2019; COVID-19; laboratory diagnosis; West Africa; Niger

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