Laboratory services play a critical role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. As the world moves towards the goal to eliminate HIV, TB and Malaria by 2030, the role of laboratories cannot be understated. The onset of COVID-19 pandemic, a virus that too requires laboratory services for its diagnostics, has however put a strain on laboratory capacities, not only to detect COVID-19 but to also maintain diagnostic testing for HIV, TB and Malaria, among other diseases. Below are some of the experiences and lessons learnt as shared by African countries:
• Erratic supplies of testing reagents as the supply chain was badly affected by the travel restrictions;
• Equipment repurposing for the purpose of testing both HIV, TB and Malaria and COVID-19 in order to maintained service delivery for HIV, TB and Malaria and other healthcare programs;
• Frequency of sample transportation significantly reduced, and this led to fewer tests for things such as early infant diagnosis and viral load;
• Fewer TB notification and screening; and
• Reduced outpatient testing for malaria due to lockdowns.