Phases 1 & 2 achievements

Since the creation of the network in 2009, the objective of RESAOLAB has remained the same, to bring together West African countries around reinforcement of the quality of the clinical diagnostics, an essential step to improving public health and monitoring epidemics in this region.

RESAOLAB phase 1: 2009-2013

The RESAOLAB project was started by the Mérieux Foundation in 2009 with support from the Agence Française de Développement, on request of the ministries of Health of Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal.

Since 2009, RESAOLAB has prepared the ground for the creation of training programs, for building and outfitting training and laboratory centers for seminars and external quality assessment, for the implementation of quality programs and for the development of tools for laboratory-based epidemiological monitoring. These advances have helped step up clinical diagnosis capacity in West Africa while improving the quality of diagnosis.

RESAOLAB phase 2: 2013-2017

In 2013, four other West African countries joined the network: Benin, Guinea, Niger and Togo.

During this second phase, RESAOLAB’s regional foothold made it possible to support other public health initiatives in medical biology in West Africa. These national or inter-country projects have seen sustainable progress in various areas (laboratory mapping, epidemiological monitoring data reporting system, etc.). From 2015, representatives from 8 other West African countries were asked to participate in the network’s workshops and annual meetings, through the WARDS ((West Africa Regional Disease Surveillance) project financed by the World Bank, via the WAHO)), thus bringing together representatives of 15 countries within the ECOWAS. These meetings gave rise to joint strategies and brought responses to the main challenges in this region.

In addition to the AFD, other partners supported this phase of the project: Monaco’s Department of International Cooperation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Islamic Development Bank


RESAOLAB phase 1 and phase 2 saw the rolling out of large-scale continuing education schemes, the construction and outfitting of training and quality assurance laboratories, implementation of epidemiological monitoring systems and the setting up of an intercountry network.

  • 1,000+ public and private laboratories which are overseen and included in the network in the seven countries
  • 14 continuing education modules, developed jointly with the country experts as part of an improvement program
  • 1,000+ trained in the 14 modules over 100 sessions
  • 20 continuing education centers built or renovated
  • 4 laboratory directorates built/extended and equipped
  • 100+ scholarships granted for medical biology training (biological and applied medical sciences, master’s and specialist diploma)
  • 16 external quality assessment sessions held
  • 200+ laboratories in the sub-region have an external quality control program

Laboratories policy

Laboratory management receives support for their development and running and contributes to enforcing the national laboratory supervision policy. It coordinates the work of the country’s clinical biology laboratories, verifies the level of quality of their analyses and refers the staff for training if necessary.

Diagnosis quality control

Laboratory supervision makes it possible to report on infrastructures, equipment and training of laboratory staff, in order to establish a mapping of all the laboratories in each country. It is also a means of providing support for laboratories in their quality approach.

The external quality assessment involves a comparison of the analysis results from a given laboratory with an external benchmark, thereby providing objective evidence of analysis quality. The laboratories receive test samples to be analyzed, and the level of compliance of the results is forwarded to the participating laboratories in order to implement any corrective action for the continuous improvement of analysis quality. More than 200 laboratories benefited from an external quality control program, 70 of which benefited from an international program with the specialist agency One World Accuracy.

RESAOLAB also supported the implementation of a LabBook laboratory information system (LIS) in the 7 countries and taught more than 60 people how to use it. This LIS, software developed by the Mérieux Foundation in a technical partnership with Epiconcept, aims to reinforce epidemiological monitoring via the regular collection and transmission of laboratory analysis data to the national supervisory bodies.


As part of the project, educational tools meeting training needs were developed, with 14 modules developed since 2013 on the following themes such as biosafety, data management, diseases with epidemic potential, or biochemistry, hematology etc.

These modules were taught during continuing education sessions in the network and are also available by e-learning. At the same time, the project granted more than 100 training scholarships between 2013 and 2017. RESAOLAB also provided support for the EPAC (Ecole Polytechnique Abomey Calavi) in Cotonou for the development of a technicians training program in the basics of biomedical equipment maintenance.

The Mérieux Foundation, through RESAOLAB, the Project P48 by the European Commission set up by Expertise France, and the project REDISSE, provided support for four training sessions. Sixty people from the entire subregion thus received training.