An initiative of the Center for Global Health and Economic Development at the Earth Institute, the Tropical Laboratory Initiative (TLI) combines and simplifies the latest technologies available for diagnostics at the point-of-care. Its purpose is to reduce the number of missed and misdiagnosed cases and also provide an entry point into clinical care for all patients. The package of diagnostics covers the main investigations required for antenatal care as well as the diagnostic tests for malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases and basic biochemical analysis.
The Bonsaaso Millennium Villages Project (MVP) in Ghana is the first MVP village to have rolled out the Tropical Laboratory Initiative. With previously poor access to health centers, complicated by a long commute, patients in the Bonsaaso cluster now have seven functional health centers in the village that link directly to the new laboratory facility launched by TLI. The project was designed as a three-tiered approach to incorporate local and regional operations, in order to have full access to a wider range of diagnostic equipment, including CD4 count and PCR for HIV diagnosis, currently only available at the district and regional level respectively. Phase One of the TLI initiative is completed, including the opening of a fully functional laboratory in Bonsaaso and the training of the laboratory and medical staff. This initiative has resulted from a successful collaboration between the Bonsaaso Health team at MVP and the GlaxoSmithKline PULSE program, which enables GSK employees to dedicate six months to a non-profit or NGO. The TLI model is now being rolled out in other MVP sites, such as Koraro, Ethiopia.