about 3 years to train somebody or a week in a training program,” and the reality is that “you can’t build infrastructure and you can’t develop people without having the financial resources.” Participants pointed to creative strategies, such as developing funding packages that could only be used for projects that involve collaboration across sectors. Industry and the private sector were also cited as a relatively untapped resource.
Technology offers potential solutions to many of the challenges of coordination, remote field work, and rapid response, and a large technology company such as Google has the potential to offer valuable support with data management, software, and related resources. The question was raised, in that context, whether technology—hand-held devices, mobile diagnostics—could actually make it possible to bypass some of the current challenges facing central laboratories. Without a doubt, new technologies have already proven to be valuable in many contexts, but participants agreed that reference laboratories are still necessary, and that a true technological replacement remains “a long way off.”