Laboratory system strengthening and quality improvement in Ethiopia
Source:Afr J Lab Med. 3(2):228.
Pubmed Central ID:PMC4703116
Funding:CC999999/Intramural CDC HHS/United States
In 2010, a National Laboratory Strategic Plan was set forth in Ethiopia to strengthen laboratory quality systems and set the stage for laboratory accreditation. As a result, the Strengthening Laboratory Management Toward Accreditation (SLMTA) programme was initiated in 45 Ethiopian laboratories.
This article discusses the implementation of the programme, the findings from the evaluation process and key challenges.
The 45 laboratories were divided into two consecutive cohorts and staff from each laboratory participated in SLMTA training and improvement projects. The average amount of supportive supervision conducted in the laboratories was 68 hours for cohort I and two hours for cohort II. Baseline and exit audits were conducted in 44 of the laboratories and percent compliance was determined using a checklist with scores divided into zero- to five-star rating levels.
Improvements, ranging from < 1 to 51 percentage points, were noted in 42 laboratories, whilst decreases were recorded in two. The average scores at the baseline and exit audits were 40% and 58% for cohort I (p < 0.01); and 42% and 53% for cohort II (p < 0.01), respectively. The p-value for difference between cohorts was 0.07. At the exit audit, 61% of the first and 48% of the second cohort laboratories achieved an increase in star rating. Poor awareness, lack of harmonisation with other facility activities and the absence of a quality manual were challenges identified.
Improvements resulting from SLMTA implementation are encouraging. Continuous advocacy at all levels of the health system is needed to ensure involvement of stakeholders and integration with other improvement initiatives and routine activities.
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