Saturday, August 25, 2018

AIDSfreeAFRICA: Equipping Laboratories in Cameroon

AIDSfreeAFRICA: Equipping laboratories in Cameroon

Over the years AIDSfreeAFRICA has had the opportunity to consult with seven pharmaceutical startup companies in Cameroon, West Africa. During that time, it became apparent that these companies followed a certain pattern that ultimately ends in shut down. There are a host of reasons why these heroic efforts end so disappointingly, but one fact holds true for all: it is tremendously difficult to sustain pharmaceutical production in a resource-poor setting. The lack of the necessary supporting infrastructure that is taken for granted in developed countries stacks the odds against these efforts. AIDSfreeAFRICA thus decided to focus on hands-on-laboratory training which, is one aspect needed but lacking in Cameroon. Currently, AIDSfreeAFRICA is equipping two laboratories, one in the capital Yaounde and one in Bamenda, the largest city in the English-speaking Northwest region. In Yaounde, the laboratory is run by an employee and is focused on medical diagnostics. Specifically, a fluorescent microscope found nowhere else in the country is used to diagnose malaria. AIDSfreeAFRICA is also working to acquire a thermocycler for polymerase chain reaction, a test used to measure HIV viral loads.


The Bamenda Laboratory is dedicated to becoming the premiere quality control laboratory focusing on pharmaceutical drug and water quality. Cameroon has little opportunity to analyze the drugs that come into the country and even less for those that are already on the market. Doctors have a hard time deciding if a treatment is not working because it is not the correct cure for a patient or if the drug has lost its efficacy due to loss of the active ingredient due to improper storage and exposure to heat and humidity. The 32-square meter laboratory that belongs to one of the government research institutions is currently renovated to reach a level of standard necessary.
AIDSfreeAFRICA is looking for scientists, professors, science teachers who have access to basic chemistry analytical equipment and who would like to come to Cameroon, conduct a one or two week long hands-on training. At the end of the training, the equipment will be put in the care of AIDSfreeAFRICA for further use in the lab. In particular, AIDSfreeAFRICA is interested in the following:

·       pH meters with ion-specific electrodes
·       Acid-base titration
·       Thin-layer chromatography (TLC) supplies (sheets, developing chamber).
·       High-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC)
·       Gas chromatography (GC)
·       Combustion analysis machine for determining elemental composition
·       Karl Fischer titration equipment
·       Kjeldahl nitrogen analysis equipment
·       Other small analytical chemistry equipment and experiments

If you are interested send your CV and a proposal of what you would like to teach to Dr. Rolande Hodel at rrhodel@aol.com. The earliest opportunity lies between May 30 and July 30, 2019.