Original Research

Improving quality in national reference laboratories: The role of SLMTA and mentorship

Rosemary A. Audu, Catherine C. Onubogu, Nkiru N. Nwokoye, Eke Ofuche, Shirematee Baboolal, Odafen Oke, Elizabeth T. Luman, Emmanuel O. Idigbe
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 3, No 2 | a200 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v3i2.200 | © 2014 Rosemary A. Audu, Catherine C. Onubogu, Nkiru N. Nwokoye, Eke Ofuche, Shirematee Baboolal, Odafen Oke, Elizabeth T. Luman, Emmanuel O. Idigbe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 May 2014 | Published: 16 September 2014

About the author(s)

Rosemary A. Audu, Human Virology Laboratory, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Nigeria
Catherine C. Onubogu, National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Nigeria
Nkiru N. Nwokoye, National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Nigeria
Eke Ofuche, AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria, Nigeria
Shirematee Baboolal, American Society for Microbiology, United States
Odafen Oke, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nigeria
Elizabeth T. Luman, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States
Emmanuel O. Idigbe, National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Nigeria


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Abstract

Background: The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research houses two reference laboratories: the virology and tuberculosis laboratories. Both were enrolled in the Strengthening Laboratory Management Toward Accreditation (SLMTA) programme.

Objective: To describe the impact of SLMTA and discuss factors affecting the results, with an emphasis on mentorship.

Methods: The SLMTA programme was implemented from April 2010 through November 2012. Participants attended three workshops and executed quality improvement projects; laboratory auditors evaluated performance using a standard checklist. The virology laboratory did not receive mentorship; however, the tuberculosis laboratory had an international mentor who visited the laboratory four times during the programme, spending two to four weeks embedded within the laboratory during each visit.

Results: There was an overall improvement in the performance of both laboratories, with the virology laboratory increasing 13% (from 80% at baseline to 93% at exit audit) and the tuberculosis laboratory increasing 29% (from 66% to 95%). These scores were maintained nine months later at the surveillance audit.

Conclusion: The SLMTA programme resulted in improved and sustained quality management performance for both laboratories. Mentoring was a possible factor in the substantial improvement made by the tuberculosis laboratory and should be considered in order to augment the training received from the SLMTA workshops.


Keywords

SLMTA, mentoring, laboratory accreditation, quality management system

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African Journal of Laboratory Medicine  vol: 3  issue: 2  year: 2014  
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