Lessons from the Field

An assessment of the laboratory network in Ghana: A national-level ATLAS survey (2019–2020)

Emma E. Kploanyi, Joseph Kenu, Benedicta K. Atsu, David A. Opare, Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, Lee F. Schroeder, David W. Dowdy, Alfred E. Yawson, Ernest Kenu
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 12, No 1 | a1844 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v12i1.1844 | © 2023 Emma E. Kploanyi, Joseph Kenu, Benedicta K. Atsu, David A. Opare, Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, Lee F. Schroeder, David W. Dowdy, Alfred E. Yawson, Ernest Kenu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 February 2022 | Published: 08 February 2023

About the author(s)

Emma E. Kploanyi, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana
Joseph Kenu, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana
Benedicta K. Atsu, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana
David A. Opare, National Public Health and Reference Laboratory, Ghana Health Service, Accra, Ghana
Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, Public Health Division, Ghana Health Service, Accra, Ghana
Lee F. Schroeder, Department of Pathology and Clinical Laboratories, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
David W. Dowdy, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Alfred E. Yawson, Department of Community Health, University of Ghana Medical School, Accra, Ghana
Ernest Kenu, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana

Abstract

Background: Integrated health systems with strong laboratory networks are critical in improving public health. The current study assessed the laboratory network in Ghana and its functionality using the Assessment Tool for Laboratory Services (ATLAS).

Intervention: A national-level laboratory network survey was conducted among stakeholders of the Ghanaian laboratory network in Accra. Face-to-face interviews were conducted from December 2019 to January 2020, with follow-up phone interviews between June and July 2020. Also, we reviewed supporting documents provided by stakeholders for supplementary information and transcribed these to identify themes. Where possible, we completed the Laboratory Network scorecard using data obtained from the ATLAS.

Lessons learnt: The Laboratory Network (LABNET) scorecard assessment was a valuable addition to the ATLAS survey as it quantified the functionality of the laboratory network and its overall advancement toward achieving International Health Regulations (2005) and Global Health Security Agenda targets. Two significant challenges indicated by respondents were laboratory financing and delayed implementation of the Ghana National Health Laboratory Policy.

Recommendations: Stakeholders recommended a review of the country’s funding landscape, such as funding laboratory services from the country’s internally generated funds. Also, they recommended laboratory policy implementation to ensure adequate laboratory workforce and standards.

 


Keywords

laboratory systems; laboratory network; ATLAS; epidemic-prone diseases; LABNET scorecard; laboratory capacity; laboratory readiness; laboratory strengthening

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