The SLMTA Hero Award

Dr Charles Nde Awasom, Former Director, Bamenda Regional Hospital (BRH), Cameroon

Dr. Julie Ndasi, Deputy Executive/Technical Director, Global Health Systems Solutions (GHSS), Cameroon

Dr. Charles Nde Awasom has been a senior advocate for SLMTA implementation in Cameroon since its introduction in this country in 2010. During his tenure as the director of the 400-bed Bamenda Regional Hospital (BRH), he worked in close collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Global Health Systems Solutions (GHSS), providing timely and necessary resources to advance this hospital towards accreditation. He initiated the renovation of the laboratory and ensured that laboratory staff adhered to the quality management system (QMS) that was put in place.  

Unique about his work is that with inspiration drawn from the successful implementation of SLMTA in his laboratory, Dr. Charles extended and adapted the SLMTA program to other hospital departments. These initiatives greatly increased staff motivation and buy-in for SLMTA implementation not only in the BRH but also across other health facilities in Cameroon, transforming the entire BRH into a center of quality healthcare and excellence. As a result, a South-South-North collaboration in quality improvement that involved the Bamenda Regional Hospital, Bombo Hospital in Tanzania, Charite and Hamburg hospital in Germany was easily achievable.

Worth noting here is that barely three years after SLMTA implementation in this hospital, the annual hospital and laboratory revenue increased by 25% and 40% respectively. These figures clearly indicated an increased use and client satisfaction of the hospital services resulting from the quality improvement of their service delivery during this period. At the WHO-AFRO SLIPTA audit, the BRH laboratory was awarded 3 stars compared to zero stars at baseline, and improved 63 percentage points in overall score within 3 years after SLMTA implementation.

The details of this laboratory’s achievements were documented in the manuscript titled “From grass to grace: How SLMTA revolutionized the Bamenda Regional Hospital Laboratory in Cameroon,” which was conceived and supervised by this hero, and published in 2014 in the African Journal of Laboratory Medicine (Vol. 3 No. 2). At ASLM2014 conference, Dr. Awasom was the recipient of the Best Laboratory Champion Clinician Award, which seeks to promote and recognise an exceptional clinician in the field of public health whose work has had a profound impact and/or benefit on laboratory medicine in Africa.

If there exist today a sustained culture of quality in the BRH laboratory, it is thanks to this hero. I there confidently nominate Dr. Charles Awasom as a SLMTA hero.