The Chatham House Sustainable Laboratories Initiative Prior Assessment Tool was designed to support the laboratory development process in order to create critical infrastructure for disease surveillance and outbreak response. The tool allows for a structured conversation between funders and recipient countries on the best way to establish or repurpose laboratories in low-resource settings. The tool is authored by David Harper, Emma Ross and Benjamin Wakefield, in collaboration with West African partners, and funded by the Weapons Threat Reduction Program, Global Affairs Canada.
The tool emerged from a 2018 workshop in Abuja, Nigeria, where participants determined that there was a need to add more structure to conversations with funders, to have a more productive conversation about development in a low-resource setting. This tool is part of the sustainable laboratories initiative at the Chatham House Centre on Global Health security, which aims to help develop alternative approaches to biosafety and biosecurity in Africa, that are more reflective of local needs. Other efforts from the Centre include consideration of 'core specifications' and a regional training hub for sustainable laboratories in Africa.