Our commitment to high quality laboratory services to our clients was evidenced by the attainment and maintenance of international accreditation for the WCRL since 2009. The year 2015 saw an addition of 3 more laboratories (Katutura, Swamed and Rundu Private Laboratories) to the list of NIP laboratories accredited to international quality standards.
In an effort to speed up the Quality Management System implementation in the network of NIP laboratories, the Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA) programme was adopted.
This programme is an alternative training approach in laboratory management and quality management systems that have the objective of achieving a measurable improvement in preparing laboratories for international accreditation based on clinical laboratory standards. Five staff members were trained on SLMTA, three of whom then attended the Train the Trainers workshop at the African Centre for Integrated Training (ACILT) in order to increase NIP capacity and thus enable us to undertake the in-country rollout of the SLMTA programme.
B) The SLMTA training programme was successfully rolled out in Namibia and to date a total of 34 staff responsible for managing laboratories countrywide have been trained.
Adapted from the SMLTA, the Stepwise Laboratory Improvement Process Towards Accreditation (SLIPTA) programme of the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Africa (WHO-AFRO), measures and evaluates the progress of laboratory systems towards international accreditation and awards a certificate of recognition (using a 0 to 5 star rating system) through standardised processes.
C) The Quality Assurance office through the support of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and MINISTRY OF Health and Social Services (MHOSS) applied to the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM), in order for the laboratories whose staff had been trained on the SLMTA programme to be audited using the SLIPTA process. Nine laboratories were audited and the results showed that remarkable improvement in compliance to quality standards had occurred. Three (Onandjokwe, Ongwediva Medipark and Otjiwarongo) laboratories obtained 3 star rating (75-84%), four laboratories (Rundu, Oshakati, Keetmanshoop, and Swakopmund) obtained 2 star rating 65-74%, the Walvis Bay laboratory obtained one star rating (55-64%) and the Windhoek TB laboratory had a score of 50.5%. Following these assessments corrective actions were instituted in order to close all the gaps identified during the audits.
During the reporting period, the NIP Quality Assurance Office conducted proficiency testing enrolments for all NIP laboratories. The Audit Division conducted internal quality audits on all the laboratories during the period under review.
Communicable Disease Quality Assurance
Site assessments were conducted to 299 active HIV counselling and testing (HCT) facilities in 13 regions during the period under review. HIV rapid testing procedures and site operations were systematically reviewed during these assessments and findings with recommendations were reported to MoHSS and other implementing partners in an effort to ensure continuous improvement of quality assurance programme activities. Proficiency panels and internal quality control samples were also prepared and distributed to all HCT sites as part of the quality assurance support to the programme.
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