About the European Laboratory Initiative (ELI)

WHO/Europe established the European Laboratory Initiative (ELI) in 2012, in collaboration with the Global Laboratory Initiative (GLI), to strengthen laboratory capacities for accurate diagnosis and early detection of tuberculosis (TB) and drug-resistant TB in the WHO European Region.

In 2018, ELI’s mission was expanded to cover testing, diagnosis, monitoring and laboratory needs also for TB/HIV coinfection, HIV and viral hepatitis, with the ultimate objective of strengthening and making more efficient the response for all 3 diseases in the WHO European Region. In fact, this is the only WHO region where HIV infections (and therefore TB-HIV co-infections) are rising due HIV late diagnosis, and where viral hepatitis remains a major public health threat due to low diagnosis rates (it is estimated that only around 30% of people living with chronic hepatitis C and less than 20% of those with chronic hepatitis B have been diagnosed in 2015).

Aims and members

ELI consists of partner organizations from the European Region that are active and dedicated in the field of laboratory services. Its Secretariat is hosted by WHO/Europe, and it includes representatives of national programmes, research institutes and nongovernmental organizations.

ELI serves as a regional platform for discussion and communication on TB, HIV and viral hepatitis laboratory diagnosis and testing. It aims to provide policy guidance and advice on:

  • appropriate and efficient use of new technologies and their implementation;
  • best practice and advocacy;
  • development of capacity and standardized quality assurance systems;
  • facilitation of effective technology transfer and knowledge-sharing;
  • resource management and mobilization;
  • expansion and facilitation of the use of quality-assured laboratory services.

The ELI core group members function as an independent technical advisory and support group to WHO and partners. ELI coordinates activities and works closely with the GLI, Better Labs for Better Health, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).