Lessons Learned from SLMTA Accredited Labs

TB And Immunology Laboratories, Mozambique

From left: Dr. Nazira Abdul (Minister of Health) and Dr. Ilesh Jani (Director of the National Institute of Health)

Front - from left: Ms Eulalia Buque (Quality Manager), Ms Rosa Macamo (Lab Technician), Dr Nazira Abdula (Minister of Health), Mrs Nádia Sitoe (Lab Director), Mrs Regina Machanhane (Lab Technician). Back - from left: Mr Eduardo Namalango (Lab Technician) and Mr. Nelson Tembe (Lab Technician)

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

  • Implementing the philosophy of quality in daily laboratory activities, such as resistance from laboratory staff to change, registration and following the protocols. 
  • Responding to non-conformances that are out of the control of the laboratory staff such as procurement of laboratory supplies.

2.What was the easiest?

Motivating the team - from the beginning, the team was very motivated to seek international recognition.

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

The commitment of laboratory staff, the National Institute of Health (INS) Directorate, strong laboratory leadership, mentorship and support from partners.

4.What steps did you take?

Step 1.Participating in the SLMTA program.

Step 2.Decision from INS directorate to apply for accreditation

Step 3.Mentorship from an experienced mentor.

Step 4.Application for an accreditation board.

Step 5.Audit.

5.What were the biggest mistakes you made?

  • Technicians lacking the awareness of the importance of a quality management system. More training of laboratory staff on key quality concepts would have been beneficial.
  • Change of the laboratory quality manager during the process (in the Cellular Immunology laboratory).

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

Accreditation is an achievable dream. It requires commitment at all levels, strong laboratory leadership, well-trained and motivated staff to implement Quality Management System, adequate funding and infrastructure; and a robust action plan.