Strengthening Diagnostics Capabilities in Africa

Partnership objective

  1. Address the lack of trained diagnostic workers by supporting a purpose-built training centre to increase much needed laboratory services.

50-70% of clinical decisions depend on accurate laboratory diagnosis, so having reliable diagnostic capabilities is critical. 50-70% of clinical decisions depend on accurate laboratory diagnosis, so having reliable diagnostic capabilities is critical. Copyright Roche

What are the health needs and challenges?

One of the greatest healthcare challenges for Africa is having enough trained healthcare workers to manage diagnostic tools effectively. 50-70% of clinical decisions depend on accurate laboratory diagnosis, so having reliable diagnostic capabilities is critical.

Optimising the use of diagnostics will be critical to achieving the targets of the UNAIDS 90:90:90 goal by 2020. This goal means that 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have durable viral suppression.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

To address the lack of trained diagnostic workers and laboratory capacity, Roche opened the Roche Scientific Campus in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2012. The training centre aims to provide:

  • hands-on, certified training courses for lab technologists and engineers
  • general lab management training for managers and policy makers
  • education on health and scientific topics for healthcare professionals and scientists

The facility boasts five self-contained laboratories with the latest technological tools in chemistry, haematology, molecular biology, tissue diagnostics and sequencing. Training is conducted by certified trainers and experts, in collaboration with local and international organisations.

In 2012 Roche and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) formed a five-year partnership to strengthen training for diagnostics workers in Africa. In 2014, Roche extended its partnership with Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), (PEPFAR), and the Global Fund to fight HIVAIDS, TB & Malaria on a new Global Access Program for HIV viral load testing. The Global Access Program specifically addresses the need for increased diagnostic testing and viral load assays with reduced pricing in those countries most impacted by HIV. This includes improving laboratory capacity to ensure that all people living with HIV can be linked to effective, high-quality HIV treatment services.

Summary of impact and forward looking information

To date the campus has hosted over 300 courses, covered over 980 training days for around 1600 participants. The facility also plays regular host to HIV clinicians and meetings on various topics. The roll-out of the PEPFAR-Roche partnership began with two pilot courses; a five-day laboratory budgeting course, followed by a two-week course on Method Validation and Quality Control.


Roche Scientific Campus

Partnership information

Company(ies) Roche

Partner(s) African Society for Laboratory Medicine, US President´s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Government

Therapeutic Focus Infectious Diseases

Disease(s) HIV/AIDS

Program Type(s) Health System Infrastructure - Training

Targeted Population(s) Health professionals

Region(s) Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 48

Country(ies) Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, The Gambia, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Start Date 2012

More information Roche Making Innovation Accessible

Anticipated completion date 2017

« The Roche Scientific Campus as a whole has been built primarily for the focus of ensuring continued medical education, continued scientific education and skills development and capacity building. »

Terence Moodley, Head of Roche Scientific Campus