The weakest part in the public-health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is often the laboratory and diagnostic capability. Laboratory units are difficult to build, staff and maintain, especially in remote areas. This deficiency hampers timely detection of- and response to all sorts of health threats.
To tackle this problem, we developed a fully functional laboratory cabin mounted on a 4×4 truck, capable of facing the hardships of small roads and accessing the most remote places, while allowing high quality laboratory analyses.
The currently operational few mobile labs are by far not enough to cover the overwhelming need of vast underserved regions in developing countries. For example, countries like Nigeria, DR-Congo, Tanzania or Bangladesh would need entire fleets of mobile labs to meet the challenges they face and empower local actors including public administration, NGOs, private corporations, universities, etc.
How can we increase the use and the impact of mobile labs?
For example, how can we:
– reduce production cost of vehicle and cabin
– reduce costs of the diagnostic tools and technologies in the lab cabin
– increase transfer of information (cloud-based exchange of lab results); and perhaps create a direct
between individual mobile labs and a link to national and regional Health Information Systems
– Further adapt and transfer appropriate technology and the training of technicians
– generate revenue through an innovative business model
– Establish laboratory networks at national and international level
All these individual steps would contribute towards our overall objective of significantly improving diagnostic means in remote areas to enhance laboratory surveillance and health monitoring
Since 2003, the mobile lab has been implemented in various West African countries and has supported a variety of public-health programs, including environmental monitoring, hygiene and water quality in the frame of outbreak interventions, epidemiologic studies, training and awareness rising in communities. From this experience, we can provide:
- Proof of concept that our mobile lab works
- State of the art diagnostic technologies
- Experts with working experience will be present
- Knowledge of local needs and context