oa African Journal of Laboratory Medicine - Translating a National Laboratory Strategic Plan into action through SLMTA in a district hospital laboratory in Botswana : original research

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



The Ministry of Health (MOH) of Botswana adopted Strengthening Laboratory Management Toward Accreditation (SLMTA), a structured quality improvement programme, as a key tool for the implementation of quality management systems in its public health laboratories. Coupled with focused mentorship, this programme aimed to help MOH achieve the goals of the National Laboratory Strategic Plan to provide quality and timely clinical diagnoses.

This article describes the impact of implementing SLMTA in Sekgoma Memorial Hospital Laboratory (SMHL) in Serowe, Botswana.
SLMTA implementation in SMHL included trainings, improvement projects, site visits and focused mentorship. To measure progress, audits using the Stepwise Laboratory Quality Improvement Process Towards Accreditation (SLIPTA) checklist were conducted at baseline and exit of the programme, with scores corresponding to a zero- to five-star scale. Turnaround times, customer satisfaction, and several other health service indicators were tracked.
The laboratory scored 53% (zero stars) at the baseline audit and 80% (three stars) at exit. Nearly three years later, the laboratory scored 85% (four stars) in an official audit conducted by the African Society for Laboratory Medicine. Turnaround times became shorter after SLMTA implementation, with reductions ranging 19% to 52%; overall patient satisfaction increased from 56% to 73%; and clinician satisfaction increased from 41% to 72%. Improvements in inventory management led to decreases in discarded reagents, reducing losses from US $18 000 in 2011 to $40 in 2013.
The SLMTA programme contributed to enhanced performance of the laboratory, which in turn yielded potential positive impacts for patient care at the hospital.

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