Scaling Rapid Laboratory Testing-Deploying BLIS 3.0 in Response to COVID -19

Emmanuel Kweyu, Deputy Director of @iLabAfrica-Strathmore University and Head of the e- Health department Covid

COVID-19 has brought its fair share of challenges that have caught laboratories unprepared. This pandemic has a high demand for test services, but many labs are under-equipped, understaffed and compounded by workflow inefficiencies. The need for quick turn around and accuracy in testing COVID-19 is no longer customary, but a necessity unlike many other lab tests.

@iLabAfrica, a research and incubation center at Strathmore University, has developed in collaboration with other implementing partners an open source Basic Laboratory Information System (BLIS 3.0), primarily configured 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). This will 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 two county level hospital laboratories in Kenya with ongoing implementations in ten district/regional laboratories in Uganda. This implementation experience with 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.

In response to the growing threat of this pandemic, @iLabAfrica, through the e-Health department, is working to support the scaling of in-country technical and implementing capacity to expand the open source BLIS 3.0 to support labs in testing, verification, integration, analysis and communication of results, and enable tracking of COVID-19 cases in Kenya. “For home or field testing, we would like to in cooperate with a mobile application where tests done can be captured and synced with the national system for real time reporting,” says Mr Emmanuel Kweyu,  head of the e- Health department.

Mr. Kweyu is the Deputy Director @iLabAfrica-Strathmore University and the head of the e- Health department.

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About the Author

Emmanuel Kweyu, Deputy Director of @iLabAfrica-Strathmore University and Head of the e- Health department

Emmanuel Kweyu is currently pursuing his PhD in Health Informatics (e-health) and has an MSc (information systems- Distributed systems option).
He is also an assistant lecturer in the Faculty of IT in Strathmore University. Mr. Kweyu been involved e-health and m-health research projects for the past 8 years working in collaboration with Ministry of Health in Kenya, CDC-Kenya, Association of Public Health Labs (APHL), IBM Research Lab Africa, the University of Oslo in Norway, Nelson Mandela University, University of Gondar (Ethiopia), and Chancellors College University of Malawi, among others.

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