oa African Journal of Laboratory Medicine - Using standard and institutional mentorship models to implement SLMTA in Kenya : original research

Volume 5 Number 2
  • ISSN : 2225-2002
  • E-ISSN: 2225-2010



Kenya is home to several high-performing internationally-accredited research laboratories, whilst most public sector laboratories have historically lacked functioning quality management systems. In 2010, Kenya enrolled an initial eight regional and four national laboratories into the Strengthening Laboratory Management Toward Accreditation (SLMTA) programme. To address the challenge of a lack of mentors for the regional laboratories, three were paired, or 'twinned', with nearby accredited research laboratories to provide institutional mentorship, whilst the other five received standard mentorship.

This study examines results from the eight regional laboratories in the initial SLMTA group, with a focus on mentorship models.
Three SLMTA workshops were interspersed with three-month periods of improvement project implementation and mentorship. Progress was evaluated at baseline, mid-term, and exit using the Stepwise Laboratory Quality Improvement Process Towards Accreditation (SLIPTA) audit checklist and scores were converted into a zero- to five-star scale.
At baseline, the mean score for the eight laboratories was 32%; all laboratories were below the one-star level. At mid-term, all laboratories had measured improvements. However, the three twinned laboratories had increased an average of 32 percentage points and reached one to three stars; whilst the five non-twinned laboratories increased an average of 10 percentage points and remained at zero stars. At exit, twinned laboratories had increased an average 12 additional percentage points (44 total), reaching two to four stars; non-twinned laboratories increased an average of 28 additional percentage points (38 total), reaching one to three stars.
The partnership used by the twinning model holds promise for future collaborations between ministries of health and state-of-the-art research laboratories in their regions for laboratory quality improvement. Where they exist, such laboratories may be valuable resources to be used judiciously so as to accelerate sustainable quality improvement initiated through SLMTA.

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