Lessons from the Field

One laboratory’s progress toward accreditation in Tanzania

Linda R. Andiric, Charles G. Massambu
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 3, No 2 | a202 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v3i2.202 | © 2014 Linda R. Andiric, Charles G. Massambu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 May 2014 | Published: 03 November 2014

About the author(s)

Linda R. Andiric, GlobalHealth, American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), Chicago, United States
Charles G. Massambu, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Tanzania, United Republic of


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Abstract

Introduction: The Amana Regional Hospital Laboratory in Tanzania was selected, along with 11 other regional and district laboratories, to participate in a pilot programme for laboratory quality improvement using the Strengthening Laboratory Management Toward Accreditation (SLMTA) training programme.

Programme implementation: The SLMTA programme entailed hands-on learning, improvement projects between and after a three-workshop series, supervisory visits from an oversight team and an expert laboratory mentor to facilitate and coach the process. Audits were conducted at baseline, exit (approximately one year after baseline) and follow-up (seven months after exit) using the Stepwise Laboratory Quality Improvement Process Towards Accreditation (SLIPTA) checklist. Quality stars (zero to five) were awarded based on audit scores.

Results: With a dedicated staff and strong leadership from laboratory management, Amana Laboratory implemented processes, policies and procedures recommended as elements of best laboratory practices. The laboratory improved from zero stars (36%) at baseline to successfully achieving three stars (81%) at exit. This was the highest score achieved by the 12 laboratories in the programme (the median exit score amongst the other laboratories was 58%). Seven months after completion of the programme, the laboratory regressed to one star (62%).

Discussion: As the SLMTA improvement programme progressed, Amana Laboratory’s positive attitude and hard work prevailed. With the assistance of a mentor and the support of the facility’s management a strong foundation of good practices was established. Although not all improvements were maintained after the conclusion of the programme and the laboratory dropped to a one-star rating, the laboratory remained at a higher level than most laboratories in the programme.


Keywords

Laboratory Quality Improvement; SLMTA Training; WHO AFRO Accreditation

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