Opinion Paper

Phlebotomy and quality in the African laboratory

Henry A. Mbah
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 3, No 1 | a132 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v3i1.132 | © 2014 Henry A. Mbah | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 August 2013 | Published: 18 August 2014

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Henry A. Mbah, Senior Technical Advisor Lab, FHI-360, Nigeria


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Abstract

Phlebotomy, the act of drawing blood through venepuncture, is one of the most common medical procedures in healthcare, as well as being a basis for diagnosis and treatment. A review of the available research has highlighted the dearth of information on the phlebotomy practice in Africa. Several studies elsewhere have shown that the pre-analytical phase (patient preparation, specimen collection and identification, transportation, preparation for analysis and storage) is the most error-prone process in laboratory medicine. The validity of any laboratory test result hinges on specimen quality; thus, as the push for laboratory quality improvement in Africa gathers momentum, the practice of phlebotomy should be subjected to critical appraisal. This article offers several suggestions for the improvement of phlebotomy in Africa.


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