Lessons Learned from SLMTA Accredited Labs

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Laboratory Barbados

From left: Dr. Jane Mwangi (Laboratory Branch Chief, CDC-Kenya), Mr. Bashir Farah (KAVI Laboratory Manager/Mentor), Mr. David Njoroge (EDARP Laboratory Director), Mr. Kola Mbangula (EDARP Laboratory Manager)


1.What was the hardest thing to do in order to get accredited?

Changing the mindset of the laboratory staff and the attitudes of the other hospital departments whose services were an integral part of the accreditation process.

2.What was the easiest?

The willingness of the staff to develop the technical SOPs.

3.What was the most important contributing factor to getting accredited?

The SLMTA training and the mentorship provided from CDC PEPFAR through The African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) in addition to having a CEO and Laboratory Director who were committed to the accreditation process.

4.What steps did you take?

Step 1 : Appoint a Laboratory Quality Assurance Officer 

Step 2 : Train personnel in quality management (SLMTA)

Step 3 : Establish a quality committee

Step 4 : Provide training and mentorship for laboratory staff

Step 5 : Develop and implement the QMS system

Step 6 : Monitor the system through audits and quality indicators.

5.What were the biggest mistakes you made?

  • Not having a Quality Assurance Department as opposed to a Quality Assurance Officer. It is extremely difficult for one person to be responsible for the implementation and monitoring the QMS for a laboratory our size.
  • Not involving the “right” persons on the quality council from the beginning.
  • Not engaging the other staff (such as physicians and nurses) enough.

6.What is the best advice you can give to others?

  • Accreditation is not an overnight process. It takes time, dedication and hard work to achieve it, but it is achievable.
  • Make sure you have a comprehensive plan, inclusive of the resources needed, both financial and human.
  • Identify all your stakeholders such as physicians, and sensitize them - this will require several sessions.
  • Train and retrain staff on the QMS.
  • Continue to monitor and improve your system through internal audit and quality improvement projects.