LIMS and Data analysis Workshop, Sierra Leone, 18-20 July 2017

A team from the University of Western Cape’s Bioinformatics Institute was invited by the Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium (GET) to run the workshop on on data management design strategy and LIMS usage in Freetown, Sierra Leone, from 18-20th July 2017.

The Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium (GET) was established in 2014 as a direct response to the 2014-16 Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa and ongoing outbreaks of Lassa Fever, Meningitis, Multidrug resistance (MDR) enteric fevers and Yellow Fever across the sub region. There was clearly a need to create an African-led multidisciplinary forum of experts capable of working together with international partners to strengthen Africa’s preparedness and resilience in tackling such infectious diseases outbreaks caused by emerging pathogens which are capable of leading to public health emergencies and pandemics. GET now operates firmly in the African Biosecurity and public health preparedness space. GET is registered with its headquarters in Lagos Nigeria, regional Headquarters in Accra Ghana and Sierra Leone Country Headquarters in Freetown at Number 3 the Maze, King Street, Wilberforce.

After three years of successfully drafting and vetting a national biobank governance framework, combined with cataloguing all Ebola samples, the time has come to embark on a data management and LIMS strategy that will match the research vision for the national asset of Ebola biospecimens.

The training team from the South African National Bioinformatics Institute at the University of the Western Cape included Prof Alan Christoffels, Peter van Heusden, Jamie Southgate. Eugene de Beste and Hocine Bendou. The hosts were the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) and the Office of the National Security (ONS), while the coordinators were the GET Consortium, Sierra Leone country office senior staff.

The primary aim of the workshop was to provide training on LIMS and data management best practices. This aim was achieved through two days of lectures and discussion with Sierra Leone participants, followed by the final day, where a brainstorming session was held between GET staff members and visiting trainers. The objective of this session was to plot a roadmap for continuous capacity development in functional data management and informatics in Sierra Leone to support and sustain an escalating research agenda, when a functional biobanking facility and culture is established.


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