Strathmore University requests support for the scaling of in-country technical and implementing capacity for the expanding open source BLIS 3.0 (Basic laboratory Information System) user community across selected laboratories in Africa.
As a background Laboratories in developing countries, have a high demand for test services but are under equipped, understaffed and compounded by workflow inefficiencies. Strathmore University in collaboration with other implementing partners have developed an open source Basic Laboratory Information System (BLIS) that was configured primarily for specimen, testing and test results management supporting functionalities such as lab test equipment interfacing and electronic data transmission to other systems(e.g. EMRs) to reduce manual workload, decrease turn-around times, and improve quality control, and documentation to meet internationally-recognized laboratory standards and improve quality of laboratory specimen testing.
BLIS has been successfully implemented in 2 county level hospital laboratories in Kenya with ongoing implementations in 10 district/regional laboratories in Uganda. This implementation experience hand proof of concept has resulted in emerging interest and requests for technical support from a number of countries including Swaziland, Mozambique and Nigeria. We have also developed a growing community of BLIS users including developers, implementing partners, lab managers and technologists and the ministries of health stakeholders.
This proposal is a request to support the scaling and building of local in-country capacity to sustainably support BLIS 3.0(the upgrade) implementation to laboratories in Africa. This objective will be achieved through the following key activities;
1) Developing and strengthening of the in-country technical capacity through the establishment of the “BLIS Academy” to focus of developing both offline and online training resources targeting various categories of the BLIS user community.
2) Liaise our implementation activities with the LIC Community of Practise(LIS-COP) forum to leverage on the community and also scale the implementation of the system.
3) Strengthening the development of the BLIS 3.0core modules to support a wide ranges of workflows, services, tests and specimen referral support.
3) Support the BLIS 3.0 integration to more laboratory testing equipment and data exchange with other systems.
4) Provide technical support to the BLIS user community and drive the expansion of the community through a well-defined communication strategy.
5) Develop a long term sustainability plan through source multiple funding and also implement the system in private hospitals at a charge to maintain the growth and support of the system
The Consortium Team
The proposed consortium team include the following key players:
- Strathmore University-BLIS Team (http://ilabafrica.github.io/blis-kenya/ ). The core BLIS software development has been implemented by this team in collaboration with the Georgia Tech in University of Atlanta. This core team comprises of developers, implementers and trainers. This team will be responsible for building the in-country capacity for participating countries and growing the BLIS community of users.
- The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL): Both the US and Kenya offices of the APHL have been instrumental in rolling out the BLIS development and implementation in Kenya and also extended the support to the Mozambique office. APHL has provided invaluable user testing, training, support and liaison with the Ministry of Health in Kenya. The scaling of BLIS and building of the community of user will leverage on their network and experience across Africa.
- The African Society of Laboratory Medicine (ASLM). ASLM in collaboration with the Uganda National Health Laboratory Services (UNHLS) and with technical support from Strathmore University have implemented BLIS in 10 facilities and are looking to scale this to 30 facilities across the country. ASLM and UNHLS will play a vital liaison and implementation role in the scaling of BLIS in Uganda especially in building in-country capacity.
- 4. Ministries of Health in Kenya, Uganda, Swaziland, Sierra Leone, Mozambique. The Ministries of Health in the respective countries have set-up BLIS in selected facilities or have expressed interest in the scaling of BLIS. These initiatives will form the nucleus scaling the capacity of BLIS and provide vital lessons that other countries can leverage on.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). TheDGHT of CDC Atlanta office has been instrumental in the deployment of BLIS in Africa. They have support the implementation efforts of the Strathmore Team with the aim of creating local capacity and Sustainability in the BLIS implementation. The CDC support in building the incountry capacity and community of BLIS users will be vital in this proposed project.