Lessons from the Field

Challenges with the pursuit of ISO 15189 accreditation in a public health laboratory in Ghana

Seth Attoh, Francis K.M. Tetteh, Mary McAddy, Kingsley Ackah, Richmond Kyei, Marcus Moroti, Cynthia Boateng, Laurinda Adusu-Donkor, Joseph Boafo, Alhassan Yakubu, Sarah Kwao, Emmanuel Sarkodie, Nana-Banyin Koranteng, Monica A. Addo, Frederick Hobenu, Kwasi Agyeman-Bediako, Raymond D. Fatchu
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 11, No 1 | a1448 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v11i1.1448 | © 2022 Seth Attoh, Francis K.M. Tetteh, Mary McAddy, Kingsley Ackah, Richmond Kyei, Marcus Moroti, Cynthia Boateng, Laurinda Adusu-Donkor, Joseph Boafo, Alhassan Yakubu, Sarah Kwao, Emmanuel Sarkodie, Nana-Banyin Koranteng, Monica A. Addo, Frederick Hobenu, Kwas | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 November 2020 | Published: 19 July 2022

About the author(s)

Seth Attoh, JM Wadhwani Department of Anatomical Pathology, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Francis K.M. Tetteh, Department of Microbiology, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Mary McAddy, JM Wadhwani Department of Anatomical Pathology, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Kingsley Ackah, Department of Microbiology, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Richmond Kyei, JM Wadhwani Department of Anatomical Pathology, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Marcus Moroti, Department of Microbiology, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Cynthia Boateng, Department of Chemical Pathology, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Laurinda Adusu-Donkor, Department of Chemical Pathology, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Joseph Boafo, Department of Haematology, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Alhassan Yakubu, Department of Quality Assurance, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Sarah Kwao, Department of Quality Assurance, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Emmanuel Sarkodie, Department of Haematology, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Nana-Banyin Koranteng, Department of Chemical Pathology, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Monica A. Addo, Department of Chemical Pathology, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Frederick Hobenu, JM Wadhwani Department of Anatomical Pathology, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Kwasi Agyeman-Bediako, JM Wadhwani Department of Anatomical Pathology, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Raymond D. Fatchu, Department of Quality Assurance, Pathology Division Laboratory, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana


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Abstract

Background: Accreditation is important for all medical laboratories, particularly public health laboratories in developing countries. Several laboratories in Ghana implemented the requirements of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 15189 but were unable to proceed to accreditation. This article describes the challenges faced by the Pathology Division Laboratory of the 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana, during the acquisition of ISO 15189 accreditation and suggests solutions for a better approach.

Intervention: Following ISO 15189 accreditation in 2017, an online survey was conducted between 01 and 30 March 2020 among the laboratory staff. Respondents were required to grade, on a scale of 0 (least) to 5 (most), the extent to which 16 key challenges influenced the process of obtaining accreditation. Key informant interviews were also held with laboratory personnel who were directly involved in the establishment of the quality management system in the laboratory and the accreditation acquisition process.

Lessons learnt: Documentation, laboratory safety measures, laboratory management support, and reagent unavailability were estimated as the challenges that most affected the acquisition of laboratory accreditation. Challenges such as poor communication, staff apathy and workload had the least effect on the accreditation process. There was no difference in challenges identified between persons who worked in the laboratory before or after accreditation (p = 0.11).

Recommendations: To surmount the anticipated challenges, there is the need for national strategic direction for laboratory accreditation, hospital and laboratory management support for the accreditation acquisition and maintenance processes, and sufficient technical assistance in the form of training and mentorship.

 


Keywords

ISO 15189:2012; accreditation; Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation; laboratory; challenges

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