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Global Health Partnerships Travels to Kazakhstan

Members of CLSI’s Global Health Partnerships (GHP) team traveled to Kazakhstan in February for a week of training and assessments.

GHP Directors, Frances Ingersoll, MS, MLS(ASCP), and Connie L. Adams, MT(ASCP), delivered a quality management systems (QMS) workshop to 26 laboratory directors and key personnel from blood transfusion services in Kazakhstan. Laboratory Specialist, Marina Pak of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Kazakhstan Central Asia Regional Office assisted with setting up the workshop and providing a translator.

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The five-day workshop covered a range of topics, including external quality assurance, setting up quality indicators, and facilities and safety. They distributed three CLSI documents that had been translated into Russian: the Key to Quality, GP26-A—Application of a Quality Management System Model for Laboratory Services; Approved Guideline—Third Edition, and HS-1-A—Quality System Model for Health Care; Approved Guideline.

“A movement is underway to unify the techniques, equipment, and services of all 23 blood centers in the Republic of Kazakhstan,” Ingersoll said. “They are developing similar templates for forms, standard operating procedures, and a quality manual that can be customized for individual facilities.”

Ingersoll also noted that the workshop participants knew the basic elements of QMS, but they needed guidance on organizing and implementing QMS across the system. The workshop was a solid first step because the attendees’ average tests scores increased 25 percent upon completion of the course.

While the GHP Directors led the workshop, GHP International Projects Specialist, Adja O. Thiouf, CLS(NCA), MPH, conducted an assessment of the diagnostic laboratory at the Almaty City Center for AIDS Prevention and Control. After an hour spent in the laboratory, Thiouf ascertained that none of the staff were trained, or were even familiar with, QMS concepts or terminology. A previous member of the laboratory’s staff had attended a 2011 CLSI workshop and received CLSI documents, but had left the laboratory and took the information with her.

Thiouf noted that the lack of QMS knowledge and the need for their conversations to be translated by an interpreter made it extremely difficult to complete an assessment checklist. However, Thiouf and the laboratory leaders were able to finish the checklist by the end of the second day. They also drafted preliminary recommendations for improvements in Russian, which were presented to the AIDS center’s senior management team, along with laboratory staff.

GHP is planning additional laboratory assessment visits to HIV laboratories in Kazakhstan. A gap analysis will be conducted at each laboratory, and action plans will be identified to help the laboratories move forward. In addition, CLSI expects to return later in the spring to conduct a laboratory visit Blood Transfusion Services in Astana, Kazakhstan.

CLSI is seeking corporate and foundation support for GHP’s laboratory quality improvement programs. If your company is interested in learning more about GHP sponsorships and grants, please contact GHP’s Director of Development, Lauren Wiley at 484.588.5935 or lwiley@clsi.org.

 

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