Empowering Health Personnel at the Facilities in Readiness for Accreditation
Improvement of quality services in public health institutions is a high priority in many developing countries. Therefore, initiatives to empower health workers on quality management requirements are being implemented.
The Strengthening Laboratory Management Toward Accreditation (SLMTA) is a training approach in quality management systems with the goal to produce immediate, tangible measurable improvement and preparing for accreditation based on ISO 15189. In this regard, the EAPHLN in collaboration with Management for Health Services in Kenya has conducted a two day ISO sensitization at the satellite District Hospitals. The target groups were the Hospital Management Team and other personnel. During the February-March 2013 exercise, a total of 222 Health personnel were sensitized, translating to an average of 44 persons in every hospital. WHO-AFRO check list was used to orientate participants on the twelve quality elements as prescribed by ISO 15189. This was immediately followed by SLMTA training.
SLMTA was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa (AFRO), in partnership with the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the Clinton Foundation, as a tool to be used to support laboratories through the Stepwise Laboratory Improvement Projects towards Accreditation (SLIPTA) process.
The first SLMTA workshop has already been conducted. The hands-on and curriculum is based on the laboratory management framework. The tool prescribes managerial job tasks and routines; and not on generic management topics. It is implemented through multiple workshops with intervening on-site mentoring visits to support improvement projects. In this way changes are planned and monitored and the effectiveness of training can be gauged and gaps identified. In subsequent trainings, results are shared and lessons learned, leading to behavior change over time. To evaluate the effectiveness of SLMTA, the WHO-AFRO checklist is used in assessing laboratory progress towards accreditation. In addition, the SLMTA program supports laboratories by improving management and building preparedness for accreditation. All the laboratory managers, quality officers, safety officers, a few mentors and District laboratory technologists, and two bench technologists have enrolled in the program. In total 29 participants are being trained. With the spirit of expanding quality services, the EAPHLN has included one laboratory personnel from the University of Nairobi. During the SLMTA workshop I, the participants developed their improvement projects (IPs) based on priority areas. Implementations of IPs require support from the hospital management and other key players. This was emphasized by both the project coordinator and the manager during their opening and closing remarks.
The implantations shall be closely monitored through site visits by mentors.