With the support of the Ministry of Health Zambia and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CLSI, through its Global Health Partnerships (GHP) has been supporting laboratory strengthening activities in Zambia since 2010. More recently, in conjunction with Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia-Lab Innovation for Excellence (CIDRZ LIFE) project, quality management system (QMS) activities have expanded to reach more laboratories.
This technical support, grounded in the Ministry of Health’s mission of delivering “high quality, accurate, timely, cost effective, and appropriate laboratory services as close to the family as possible,” has a two-fold focus: first, on strengthening laboratories that are implementing a QMS in order to improve the quality of operations, and second, to build the individual skills and knowledge of biomedical scientists, medical laboratory professionals, and laboratory leadership to enhance the workforce and expand that impact to the whole country. The overarching strategies employed include:
- Providing mentorship to priority laboratories to develop a QMS and work towards attainment and maintenance of ISO 15189 aligned accreditation.
- Building QMS capacity to identified laboratorians in Zambia through focused trainings to advance knowledge, skills, and practice.
- Developing a cadre of QMS mentors and quality assessors within Zambia in order to sustain the gains of the program.
Successes of the Program:
- Four laboratories within the national health system have been assisted to achieve and maintain international accreditation.
- Ten additional laboratories are undergoing mentorship, implementing QMS, and preparing technical and management procedures for international accreditation.
- CLSI subject matter experts have spent more than 6,500 hours working side-by-side with local laboratory professionals mentoring them in implementing best practices for the laboratory and an ISO 15189 aligned QMS.
- Twenty-one quality assessors have been training in conducting standard-based assessments as well as internal audits. These assessors have been instrumental in conducting Ministry of Health assessments to inform planning.
- Thirteen mentor trainees equipped with fundamentals in mentorship skills and QMS practice are undergoing practical training to become QMS mentors. The goal for this aspect of the program is to sustain the gains that have been realized from the program. After training, this pool of experienced mentors in the country will expand the reach of the QMS program to more laboratories.
- Fifteen plus QMS-based workshops have been conducted and as a result 250+ laboratory professionals are trained in different QMS topics.
- Thousands of Zambians have access to high quality laboratory test results because of QMS implementation in laboratories throughout Zambia. Improvements in diagnostic capabilities positively affect patient care as doctors and patient care teams are able to make medical decisions based on timely and accurate laboratory results.
Interested in what CLSI Partnerships can offer your lab? View our training courses catalog.