ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Advertiser retains sole responsibility for the content of this article

Resilience through training for low and middle-income countries

Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences (ACSC) not only provides genomics training for low and middle-income countries (LMICs) but also empowers them to build self-sustaining regional networks.

Shortly to celebrate its 10th birthday, the Molecular Approaches to Clinical Microbiology course in Africa is showing why it is one of ACSC’s leading overseas programmes. The course trains participants to apply molecular and sequencing techniques in routine clinical diagnosis of regional pathogens. Previous attendees join a pool of mid-career African scientists, many of who return to lead parts of the training — giving back by inspiring new early career participants. The course has evolved into a strong, self-sustaining regional network in a critical, capacity-building activity.

Alice Matimba, Overseas programme lead

This sustainable approach is core to the ACSC Overseas programme, which has been delivering genomics and bioinformatics training in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean for 15 years. World renowned for its capacity building efforts, ACSC recently expanded its portfolio to offer 10 free-to-attend courses per year to widen reach and provide greater access to world-class training. This expansion complements existing efforts in LMICs, aimed at training healthcare professionals and research scientists in how to apply basic and advanced genomics and bioinformatics tools in clinical diagnosis, epidemiology, pathogen surveillance, antimicrobial resistance and drug discovery.

“Access to training in genomics and bioinformatics in LMICs remains a critical challenge limiting capacity for the application and translation of the vast knowledge and diverse biological resources that exist in these regions,” says Alice Matimba, ACSC’s Overseas Courses Manager.

Training as a priority

The ACSC Overseas Courses programme exists to empower regional communities, and is dedicated to building training capacity. As well as its successful Molecular Approaches to Clinical Microbiology in Africa course, ACSC have presented the Genomic and Epidemiological Surveillance of Bacterial Pathogens since 2013 in collaboration with the PulseNet Latin America and Caribbean Network, supported by the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO). This course covers the most important public health issues of transmission of infectious pathogens and drug resistance in the region.

It has trained scientists from many of the national reference laboratories in next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics, and brings together participants and world-renowned scientists to collectively apply their knowledge to tackling these crucial regional issues.

Establishing strong regional collaborations is crucial to widen the reach of training and overcome infrastructure challenges. By working together to foster interactions and build networks, we can help create opportunities for further learning and skills development.