The Mérieux Foundation supports the Health Laboratories Directorate of Niger to improve the quality of laboratory services
The Health Laboratories Directorate (DLS) of Niger organized a training workshop in Dosso, from May 15 to 19, 2023, forming the initial steps of its laboratory skill training program. The Mérieux Foundation brings its expertise and financial support, in particular via the RESAOLAB and RELABNI projects.
Fourteen laboratories are being supported by nine coaches previously trained in coaching/auditing as part of the DLS program, in order to ensure the implementation of the ISO 15189 standard quality process.
The program’s implementation phase began with the training of the quality managers of these fourteen intermediate-level laboratories, representing seven regional hospital centers and seven mother and child health centers.
The goal of this workshop was to present, through plenary sessions, discussions and practical work, the requirements of the ISO 15189 standard “Medical laboratories – Requirements for quality and competence”.
The training was overseen by two national trainers who have themselves been trained on the standard and certified by ALSM.
Providing support to laboratories for the implementation of a quality management system
This training formed part of the initial step of the quality support program set up by the DLS of Niger’s Ministry of Public Health, Population and Social Affairs. This eight-step program, ongoing from May to December 2023, aims to improve the quality of laboratory services. The following procedure is applied:
- Training of quality managers
- Training of auditors
- Initial audit of laboratories to be supported
- Assistance to laboratories
- Supervision of 21 laboratories committed to a quality approach
- Mid-term assessment meeting of the coaching program
- Final audit
- Sharing of coaching results
The Mérieux Foundation funds this program’s activities through phase 3 of the RESAOLAB project. The initial audit, mid-term assessment and final audit are financed by Monaco’s Department of International Cooperation via a balance from the Mérieux Foundation’s RELABNI project.
Quality experts from the Mérieux Foundation are also involved in leading the training courses, in particular through the program’s second phase, which includes a two-day online session on the audit’s methodology according to the ISO 19011 standard “Guidelines for auditing management systems”.
Following this program, the participating laboratories will be required to present at least one SLIPTA star. The SLIPTA process is a framework for improving the quality of public health laboratories within countries with limited resources, so that they can be in line with ISO 15189 standards. This process allows laboratories to develop and document their capacity to detect, identify, and quickly report all important public health diseases that are likely to be present in clinical samples.
A system of medical laboratories offering quality services is essential to strengthening public health. RESAOLAB – West African Network of Medical Biology Laboratories – is the first regional program providing a solution to this public health issue. Designed alongside healthcare stakeholders in West Africa, it takes into account all factors affecting laboratory governance and performance. Its goal is to strengthen the medical biology services provided in seven West African nations by developing their laboratory systems thanks to a local and cross-functional approach.
The project was launched by the Mérieux Foundation in 2009, in collaboration with health ministers from Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal. Four new countries were added to the network in 2013: Benin, Guinea, Niger and Togo. RESAOLAB is funded by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD).
RELABNI is a project that has now come to an end, with the overall aim of sustainably strengthening the quality of and access to biological diagnostics in Niger, by perpetuating the activities and results of the RESAOLAB Program through :
- improving the national laboratory strategy in Niger ;
- improving the efficiency of Niger’s laboratories;
- strengthening regional cooperation in the field of medical biology.