Laboratory leadership competency framework
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Laboratory leadership competency framework

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    Laboratories are an essential and fundamental part of health systems and play a critical role in the detection, diagnosis, treatment and control of diseases (1, 2). However, reliable laboratory services continue to be limited in many low- and middle-income countries (3). Although there have been examples of effective laboratory responses to outbreaks (4-6), a well-documented number of such events, including some at the convergence of human, animal, and environmental health, have shown how a lack of robust laboratory systems can impede disease control and prevention efforts. Recent examples include outbreaks of: Ebola viral disease, human H5N1 (avian) influenza, Zika viral disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and foot and mouth disease (FMD) (7-9). Likewise, the control and management of endemic diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease, malaria, cholera and brucellosis, as well as infections caused by antimicrobial- resistant pathogens, are also hampered by a lack of adequate laboratory services (10). These circumstances highlight the importance of building sustainable national health laboratory systems that are a component of overall health systems (11). This would require a long-term commitment and laboratory leaders who are able to manage laboratories in complex environments and build strong collaborative networks at every level of the health system in order to attain optimal human, animal and environmental health (12).

    It is recognized that, in order to lead efforts in the development and direction of capable laboratory systems, laboratory leaders require meaningful education and training in leadership and management skills (13), and that most of them have not had sufficient specific training in these areas (World Health Organization, unpublished report on the Laboratory leadership and management training programme meeting, Lyon, France, 12–13 May 2011). The lack of adequate leadership and management training is particularly acute in low- and middle-income countries. To effectively address this gap, a comprehensive, competency- based learning programme, applicable on a global scale, is needed to provide the foundation for training programmes for laboratory leadership and management.

    General disclaimers. The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Dotted and dashed lines on maps represent approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement.

    Suggested citation. Laboratory leadership competency framework. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2019.

  • Content Notes:
    Contents -- Acknowledgements -- Introduction: Background; Framework Development; Framework Scope; Intended Use of Framework; Framework Structure; Framework Design; Framework Outline -- Competency Framework: Competency 1: Laboratory system; Competency 2: Leadership; Competency 3: Management; Competency 4: Communication; Competency 5: Quality management system; Competency 6: Biosafety and biosecurity; Competency 7: Disease surveillance and outbreak investigation; Competency 8: Emergency preparedness, response and recovery; Competency 9: Research -- Glossary of Terms – References.
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