WINDHOEK, December 7 — The World Health Organization (WHO) is actively supporting countries in enhancing their capacities for genomic surveillance of pathogens with epidemic and pandemic potential. As part of this initiative, WHO, in collaboration with key partners, has developed a Genomics Costing Tool (GCT) to assist laboratories in estimating the annual costs associated with implementing routine pathogen genomics.
The GCT is designed to be a user-friendly tool that aids laboratories in planning and budgeting for their genomic activities, encompassing various cost components throughout the genomics value chain:
1. Infrastructure: Encompasses costs associated with equipment, laboratory space, and other physical resources.
2. Reagents and Consumables: Covers the costs of materials used for sample preparation, sequencing, and bioinformatics analysis.
3. Human Resources: Includes costs related to personnel involved in all stages of the genomic workflow, comprising technicians, scientists, and bioinformaticians.
4. Quality Management: Encompasses costs related to implementing quality assurance and control measures.
5. Facility Overhead Costs: Involves costs associated with utilities, maintenance, and other general operational expenses.
This comprehensive tool empowers laboratories to make informed decisions about resource allocation, ensuring the sustainability of their genomic surveillance programs.
From October 10-11, 2023, the WHO Namibia Country Office, in collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for Africa, organized a hands-on workshop on the GCT at the Namibia Institute of Pathology in Windhoek. The workshop convened laboratory scientists, quality managers, and finance, and procurement officers, providing them with hands-on experience with the tool and an opportunity to share their feedback.
Participants expressed their appreciation for the training and underscored the value of the GCT in aiding financial planning and budgeting for scaling up their genomics capacity. This workshop marks a significant stride in strengthening Namibia’s genomic surveillance capabilities, contributing to the broader goal of achieving sustainable global health security.
The GCT and related training materials are accessible on the WHO website, offering valuable resources for laboratories worldwide to implement and sustain their pathogen genomics programs. By supporting countries in establishing robust genomic surveillance systems, WHO is actively working towards a future where outbreaks are swiftly and effectively detected and controlled, thereby safeguarding global health for all.