Laboratory Services in the Provision of Quality Health Care: Round Table 1
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Abstract1. The quality of health care as defined by World Health Organization is ‘‘proper performance (according to standards) of interventions that are known to be safe, that are affordable to the society in question and that have the ability to produce an impact on mortality, morbidity, disability and malnutrition.’’ 1. However, the effectiveness of interventions depend on the availability of laboratory services capable of carrying out proper diagnoses needed for appropriate case management. Resolutions AFR/RC44/R15,2 AFR/RC45/R33 and AFR/RC48/R24 reaffirm this decisive role of health laboratories. 2. Under the health sector reforms, efforts were evidently made in the region to adopt effective health development strategies and to decentralize health services. In this respect, mention can be made of the operationalization of districts as part of the three-phase health development scenario, the Bamako Initiative, etc. Although laboratory services have never been ranked on the same level of priority as specialized programmes such as the programmes on tuberculosis and leprosy control, they were nonetheless included in the reforms. In spite of that effort, the performance of laboratory services still leave much to be desired in the African Region, a situation resulting from the constraints discussed below. 3. In general, laboratory staff are hardly motivated, inadequate in numerical terms and need to be strengthened. Not only are laboratory equipment unsuitable and heterogeneous but, more importantly, 50-70% of them are in malfunction for lack of maintenance. Supply of reagents is very erratic, contributing largely to the weakness of laboratory services. Norms and rules of technical procedures for activity monitoring are lacking in most of the countries. Many small laboratories operate without supervision. The quality of service for a given test varies from one laboratory to another, resulting in disparities even within a given country.
Regional Committee for Africa, 53. (2003). Laboratory Services in the Provision of Quality Health Care: Round Table 1. WHO. Regional Office for Africa. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/93307
DescriptionRegional Committee for Africa Fifty-third Session Johannesburg, South Africa, 1–5 September 2003, Provisional agenda item 11.1
Gov't Doc #AFR-RC53-RT-1
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