Mbale Regional Referral Hospital Laboratory attained a five-star status in the recently concluded Ministry of Health (MOH) led national laboratory audits. This is the first time a Regional Hospital Laboratory has achieved more than 95% of the international standards requirements for laboratory quality and competency. This is the highest attainable star status following the World Health Organization’s Stepwise Laboratory Quality Improvement Process Towards Accreditation (SLIPTA) criteria. Laboratory accreditation is a procedure where an authorized body gives formal recognition that a laboratory is competent to offer services that conform to international standards.
Mbale RRH laboratory’s rise to this status started in 2012 when it was enrolled in MOH Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA) program with support from USAID/SUSTAIN project. This program provided the opportunity for the laboratory to progressively improve its performance following the World Health Organization audit score principles guided by the 12 laboratory quality management systems essentials. At the time of enrollment, Mbale’s baseline score was at 0, it progressed to star 3 in 2013 and now is at star 5.
USAID/SUSTAIN support for Mbale Hospital Laboratory
- The laboratory was renovated in 2012.
- Automated equipment including a Chemistry analyzer, CBC and CD4 Count machine provided in 2013.
- The project provides continuous equipment maintenance support for the automated equipment.
- Three laboratory staff were recruited to fill the human resources gaps.
- The project provides capacity building for laboratory staff through trainings and onsite mentorships in the areas of: quality improvement, SLMTA, quality management systems, biosafety, laboratory internal auditing, resident mentoring and logistics management.
- The project provides biosafety equipment like first aid boxes, spill kits, eyewash bottles, fire extinguishers, whistles, and waste bins for waste segregation.
- The project provided a printer and continues to avail stationery for printing patient results.
Laboratory Quality Management Systems Essentials
- Documents and records
- Management reviews
- Organization and personnel
- Client management and customer service
- Evaluation and audits
- Purchase and inventory
- Process control
- Information management
- Identification of non-conformities, corrective and preventative actions
- Occurrence/incident management and process improvement, facilities and biosafety
According to the Mbale Regional Referral Hospital Laboratory Manager Mr. Okidi Henry:
“Utilization of knowledge gained from trainings and mentorships, teamwork and commitment contributed to Mbale’s 5-star score. Accordingly, proper documentation and record keeping is the basis of improved performance in SLMTA. Facilities should therefore endeavor to have easy-to-access standard operating procedures, quality manuals, and clinician’s hand book. They should also always refer to ISO 2012. Leadership from the laboratory in-charges, but also from hospital and administration will help in improving the quality of laboratory services.”