Lessons from the Field

Medical laboratory accreditation in a resource-limited district health centre laboratory, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Daniel M. Desalegn, Boja D. Taddese, Nebiyou Yemanebrhane, Mulye S. Getahun, Kumera T. Kitila, Tariku T. Dinku, Kassahun D. Asferie, Elizabeth A. Wolde, Gemechis B. Tura, Tilahun B. Mersha, Alemayhu W. Rorissa, Daniel D. Wondimagegnehu, Tinsae K. Hailu, Abrham T. Bika
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 8, No 1 | a793 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v8i1.793 | © 2019 Daniel M. Desalegn, Boja D. Taddese, Nebiyou Yemanebrhane, Mulye S. Getahun, Kumera T. Kitila, Tariku T. Dinku, Kassahun D. Asferie, Elizabeth A. Wolde, Gemechis B. Tura, Tilahun B. Mersha, Alemayhu W. Rorissa, Daniel D. Wondimagegnehu, Tinsae K. Hailu, A | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 February 2018 | Published: 19 September 2019

About the author(s)

Daniel M. Desalegn, Ethiopia Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and, Addis Ababa Public Health Research and Emergency Management Core Process, Addis Ababa City Administration Health Bureau, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and, Addis Ketema District Health Center Laboratory, Addis Ketema, Addis Ababa,, Ethiopia
Boja D. Taddese, Addis Ababa Public Health Research and Emergency Management Core Process, Addis Ababa City Administration Health Bureau, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Nebiyou Yemanebrhane, Ethiopia Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Mulye S. Getahun, Addis Ketema District Health Center Laboratory, Addis Ketema, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Kumera T. Kitila, Ethiopia Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and, Addis Ababa Public Health Research and Emergency Management Core Process, Addis Ababa City Administration Health Bureau, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tariku T. Dinku, Addis Ababa Public Health Research and Emergency Management Core Process, Addis Ababa City Administration Health Bureau, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Kassahun D. Asferie, Addis Ababa Public Health Research and Emergency Management Core Process, Addis Ababa City Administration Health Bureau, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Elizabeth A. Wolde, Addis Ketema District Health Center Laboratory, Addis Ketema, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Gemechis B. Tura, Addis Ketema District Health Center Laboratory, Addis Ketema, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tilahun B. Mersha, Addis Ketema District Health Center Laboratory, Addis Ketema, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Alemayhu W. Rorissa, Addis Ketema District Health Center Laboratory, Addis Ketema, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Daniel D. Wondimagegnehu, Ethiopia Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tinsae K. Hailu, Addis Ababa Public Health Research and Emergency Management Core Process, Addis Ababa City Administration Health Bureau, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Abrham T. Bika, Addis Ababa Public Health Research and Emergency Management Core Process, Addis Ababa City Administration Health Bureau, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


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Abstract

Background: Improving the quality of medical laboratory services is a high priority in many countries. However, quality management systems for laboratories in resource-limited settings are often inadequate.

Objectives: This article shares the experiences, benefits and challenges of the laboratory journey towards accreditation in a primary healthcare laboratory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Methods: A retrospective review of laboratory records in Addis Ketema Health Center was conducted from 2012 to 2015. The study was supplemented by observations from some of the authors of this article who worked in the laboratory.

Results: The laboratory journey towards accreditation began with a baseline assessment in 2012 using the World Health Organization African Region Stepwise Laboratory Quality Improvement Process Towards Accreditation; the baseline score was 78 points (0 stars). After mentorship support, the laboratory improved to 198 points (3 stars) in 2013 and 249 points (5 stars) in 2014. The laboratory scaled up to International Organization for Standardization 15189 requirements and received limited-scope accreditation for tuberculosis sputum microscopy and hematology tests in 2015. After adopting and implementing the standards, steady improvement was observed in the reliability of the laboratory services. Lack of resources was the major challenge the laboratory encountered.

Conclusion: Even though a remarkable quality performance improvement was observed over the entire process, inadequate skilled personnel was the major challenge identified in the road towards accreditation. Therefore, an appropriate, workload-based staffing structure should be developed to improve and sustain medical laboratory quality standards in resource-limited settings.


Keywords

Laboratory accreditation; ISO 15189; World Health Organization African Region; stepwise laboratory accreditation preparedness scheme

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