oa African Journal of Laboratory Medicine - One laboratory's progress toward accreditation in Tanzania - : lessons from the field

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



The Amana Regional Hospital Laboratory in Tanzania was selected, along with 11 other regional and district laboratories, to participate in a pilot programme for laboratory quality improvement using the Strengthening Laboratory Management Toward Accreditation (SLMTA) training programme.

The SLMTA programme entailed hands-on learning, improvement projects between and after a three-workshop series, supervisory visits from an oversight team and an expert laboratory mentor to facilitate and coach the process. Audits were conducted at baseline, exit (approximately one year after baseline) and followup (seven months after exit) using the Stepwise Laboratory Quality Improvement Process Towards Accreditation (SLIPTA) checklist. Quality stars (zero to five) were awarded based on audit scores.
With a dedicated staff and strong leadership from laboratory management, Amana Laboratory implemented processes, policies and procedures recommended as elements of best laboratory practices. The laboratory improved from zero stars (36%) at baseline to successfully achieving three stars (81%) at exit. This was the highest score achieved by the 12 laboratories in the programme (the median exit score amongst the other laboratories was 58%). Seven months after completion of the programme, the laboratory regressed to one star (62%).
As the SLMTA improvement programme progressed, Amana Laboratory's positive attitude and hard work prevailed. With the assistance of a mentor and the support of the facility's management a strong foundation of good practices was established. Although not all improvements were maintained after the conclusion of the programme and the laboratory dropped to a one-star rating, the laboratory remained at a higher level than most laboratories in the programme.

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