A two-week workshop was held at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Bouaké from 15 to 28 June 2019 in collaboration with Prof. Chantal Akoua-Koffi to improve the quality of data on bacterial identification and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as well as the general epidemiological collection and analysis of data. The training was aimed at study team members from ANDEMIA and the BMG funded GHPP project ARGOS. Various members of the Cote d’Ivoire study team participated in the workshop as well as two participants from Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of Congo who travelled to take part in the meeting. Two participants from RKI, Germany also helped to facilitate the workshop, which was sponsored by funds from the Global Health Protection Programme of the German Ministry of Health.

Bacteriology and AMR testing SOPs were reviewed together in detail, revised and harmonised according to international standards and laboratory practice in each of the study countries. A laboratory risk evaluation was conducted and the results were used to create a quality control plan with concrete objectives, timing and criteria. A training was given on WHONET and a template was practically developed to record and analyse ongoing results of the quality control activities. Lastly, a plan was made for next steps in the following six months to improve the exchange on results of bacteriology and AMR testing in the network.

To improve overall quality of epidemiological data collection, a new reporting process was discussed with all countries including a validation process of all past data and ongoing weekly data management reports to more effectively detect and correct errors in data collection and management. Future possibilities for regular  teleconferences or online training were also discussed.

A course in „Advanced Epidemiology and Statistics“ was held at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Johannesburg from the 7th to the 23rd of May 2019. The course was taught by Dr. Matthias Borchert (RKI Berlin). Overall 14 participants from DRC, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Guinea and South-Africa took part in the 15-day course to learn and apply hands-on advanced statistical methods used in epidemiology, including regression analysis, advanced data management and analysis of case-control studies. The contents were conveyed during lectures, interactive and group sessions as well as an assignment and written examination component.

Directly afterwards, from 27th May until 6th June 2019 a second workshop on the topic „Molecular Biology“ was given at NICD, organised by our colleagues from UP and NICD. In total 9 candidates from all 4 ANDEMIA countries participated in the workshop.
During a hands-on training the participants processed human clinical specimen of ANDEMIA patients of South Africa and isolated strains or controls. The scope of the training was to improve skills in the molecular techniques for each of the 3 ANDEMIA syndromes, such as multiplex real-time PCR and application of a macroarray, as well as good laboratory practice, interpretation of results, data storage and quality control.

In cooperation with the Global Health Protection Programme we invited three ANDEMIA students from Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Democratic Republic of Congo to a 2-months (03.09.2018 to 26.10.2018 ) intensive workshop on molecular diagnostics in Berlin.

In addition to various tools for molecular diagnostics, the workshop also included the correct documentation of data, interpretation of results, troubleshooting, quality management and theoretical introductory courses in next generation sequencing. Additionally our students were able to participate in an intensive English course, which was particularly important for our students from french-speaking countries.

The workshop will be followed by intensive training sessions in the partner countries under the direction of Dr. Essia Belarbi, who is responsible for molecular diagnostics. The aim is to implement what has been learned in each of the countries and to ensure a good and sustainable application of the learned methods as well as the transfer of the knowledge to other key persons. In addition, a shorter, more specific workshop on molecular diagnostics at the University of Pretoria is planned for May/June 2019 in South Africa.

In preparation of the launch of ANDEMIA at Côte d’Ivoire, we organized a workshop aiming to equip the two urban sites in Bouaké and Guiglo with necessary expertise and diagnostic capacities in bacteriology, with a focus on blood culture and AMR-surveillance. This workshop was funded by the Global Health Program of the Federal Ministry of Health of Germany. The scope of the training was to improve pre-analytic routines (sampling, transport logistics, preparation of culture media), implement a half-automated blood culture system (BacT/Alert) in Bouaké, teach bacteriological identification techniques, antimicrobial susceptibility testing and to interpretat antimicrobial susceptibility tests using EUCAST-breakpoints.


Our hands-on workshop “Field epidemiology” at Bouaké in Côte d’Ivoire equipped participants from all ANDEMIA partner countries with basic knowledge in epidemiological investigation and risk mapping, followed by a practical training at the example of Lassa virus, which has been demonstrated to occur in the northern part of Côte d’Ivoire.
Viral hemorrhagic fevers, such as Ebola or Lassa fever are responsible for disease outbreaks across West Africa and have a huge impact on human health, as demonstrated by the recent Ebola outbreak. Some of these viruses (e.g. Lassa virus) have their origin in wild animals e. g. rodents. Epidemiological skills as well as knowledge about the interplay of humans and animals are very important to determine high risk areas and to react in a timely manner in the event of an outbreak. This workshop was sponsored by funds from the Global Health Program of the German Ministry of Health.