Blog Image


Introduction to Laboratory Quality Management training at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital in Liberia

Latest Posted on Nov 13, 2019 15:48:17

We started this month by providing an introductory course on Laboratory Quality Management at the Saint Joseph’s Catholic Hospital (SJCH) in Liberia. The course was attended by the laboratory staff of this hospital and another hospital in Liberia (Ganta reprosy relief centre) and also from Sierra Leone. Five medical laboratory technology students from the college of health sciences in Monrovia – as future labstaff for SJCH – also got the chance to benefit from this course. The course was supported by the Medical Mission Institute in Würzburg, Germany, funded through the clinical partnership program from GiZ.

During the one-week course we went through all the elements of a laboratory quality management system based on ISO 15189, the international standard for quality and competence of medical laboratories. We discussed each element, how it contributes to ensuring quality of laboratory services, and how to best implement it. The participants completed the course by developing action plans to directly start quality management improvement of their own laboratories.

The participants showed great improvement and were also very satisfied with the training, giving it an average score of 9.4 on a scale of 1-10.

Creating laboratory leaders in Pakistan – the journey continues

Latest Posted on Oct 14, 2019 17:04:19

Early September, Linda Oskam was in Pakistan for the first face-to-face training of 7 laboratory managers under the Global Laboratory Leadership Programme (GLLP) of a consortium under the guidance of WHO. After a three-week interval during which the participants worked on their assignment, WHO and the National Institute of Health (NIH) organized the second face-to-face training from 30 September – 4 October 2019.

Group work

Second face-to-face training

During this week the emphasis was on the Leadership module elements policy and planning, ethics and partnership building. In addition, selected topics from the Communication module were taught, in particular media relations, risk communication and scientific communication.

GLLP team at Pakistan’s National Institute of Health

Significant learning increase

All materials were still in the piloting phase, but the course was highly successful (2.5 times increase in knowledge between pre- and post-test) as well as appreciated by the participants.

What is quality? A Journey!

Latest Posted on Sep 24, 2019 10:23:18

Every year Fondation Merieux in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine organizes the Advanced Course on Diagnostics in beautiful Annecy, France. This year was the 10th edition and DATOS was invited to give a presentation on quality management.

Linda Oskam took the participants of the course on an interactive journey through the concepts of quality and how to best implement a quality management system in their own laboratory. This was highly appreciated and also led to discussions on how to motivate your staff to get on board and feel responsible for quality.

For more information see our pages on laboratory strengthening (, our course on laboratory quality management ( and the LQSI tool (, for which Tjeerd Datema served as the lead developer.

Creating laboratory leaders in Pakistan

Latest Posted on Sep 17, 2019 09:23:47

Management and leadership skills are not taught when one studies laboratory sciences. Still, many laboratory scientists or technologists eventually end up as a laboratory manager. Over the years we have noticed that countries recognize the need for formal laboratory management training. WHO and its partners are now developing a formal Global Laboratory Leadership Programme (GLLP), which will ultimately consist of 9 modules and will be aimed at laboratory professionals under the One Health concept.

DATOS was asked by WHO EMRO to coordinate the first official in-country evaluation of materials that were developed for the modules Leadership and Communication. From 2 to 6 September Linda Oskam and Kim Lewis taught the first 1-week, face-to-face training to 7 mid-career laboratory professionals in Islamabad, Pakistan. These included representatives from both the human health and the veterinary health laboratories.

The training was very interactive, which was highly appreciated by the participants. They are currently working on their homework assignment under the guidance of national mentors. In 2 weeks’ time we will be back for the next instalment of this training.

Role-play of a visit to the secretary of health

Capacity building in the Trails of Excellence in Southern Africa network

Latest Posted on Aug 01, 2019 13:53:45

In the months of June and July the focus of DATOS’ activities broadened to strengthening research laboratories by assisting the Trails of Excellence in Southern Africa network, shortly TESA network.

The TESA network was launched in 2009 during the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) phase 1. The objective of this network is to strengthen clinical research capacities in Southern Africa as well as increase North-South and South-South networks. Currently, TESA incorporates 13 institutions in eight Southern African and four European countries. The activities of the TESA network currently focus mostly on capacity building and strengthening less established institutions for the identification, treatment and prevention of poverty-related infectious diseases in the Southern Region of Africa.

DATOS was asked to assist with the establishment of reference laboratories within this network for HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. In June we visited:

– The laboratory of the Botswana Harvard Partnership (BHP) which is envisaged to become TESA HIV reference laboratory

– The laboratory of the Centro de Investigação em Saúde de Manhiça (CISM) which is envisaged to become the TESA malaria reference laboratory.

We conducted an assessment at both laboratories to investigate their structure, capacity, quality management system, and other strengths and weaknesses.

During a joint workshop directly following the laboratory visits, the teams of both institutes and the experts of DATOS formulated Terms of Reference (ToR) for the TESA reference laboratories and, based on that, developed an action plan for both laboratories to work towards implementing the ToR.

The workshop team

To further establish the TESA TB Reference Laboratory, Tjeerd Datema visited TB laboratories at both the Stellenbosch University and University of Cape Town in South Africa to determine which would be most suited as TESA TB reference laboratory and how both laboratories can collaborate.

The next steps will focus on making sure that all TESA reference laboratories implement the ToR formulated in June to further build capacity of the TESA network.

April – May: Broad laboratory system review in Malawi

Latest Posted on May 21, 2019 15:09:22

In April and May, DATOS, in collaboration with KIT, has conducted a broad laboratory system assessment in Malawi for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. We looked from different angles at the laboratory system to do an in-depth analysis of the structure and functioning of the system and laboratory facilities throughout the country. Our team consisted of:

– A laboratory systems specialist, assessing the organization, regulation and coordination of the laboratory system.

– A medical laboratory specialist, assessing laboratory facilities (at public, private, NGO and mission hospitals) throughout the country.

– A geographical information specialist, analyzing the distribution of laboratory testing capacity throughout the country

– A procurement and supply chain specialist: assessing the procurement and supply system for laboratories

– A public health specialist, investigating the laboratory-clinical interface.

This extensive assessment led to major and minor recommendations to guide future laboratory strengthening activities in the country.

Linda Oskam/DATOS at ASLM2018 in Abuja, Nigeria

Latest Posted on Feb 06, 2019 13:24:04

In December 2018, the African Society for Laboratory Medicine organized its biannual conference in Abuja, Nigeria. I was present to give three presentations:

* Introduction of the Fleming Fund (on behalf of Mott Macdonald)
* Policy and planning for sustainable Public Health networks
* Developing competencies for different levels of laboratory workers

I also chaired a session on Biosafety and Biosecurity together with Dr. Abdoulaye Nikiema and the session on human resource development.

In between sessions, I met with many alumni and colleagues to discuss the past, the present and the future.

Developing a national lab policy in cold Mongolia

Latest Posted on Jan 28, 2019 15:18:07

In November/December 2018, Linda facilitated the first of a series of workshops for the National Laboratory Working Group of Mongolia. During these workshops, laboratory experts will develop a draft National Laboratory Policy which will be submitted (and hopefully endorsed) by the Government of Mongolia. Participants included representatives of the government, laboratory managers and experts from the public and the private sector, and educators. The workshop was organized under the guidance of WHO and the official opening was performed by Her
Excellency Dr. Byambasuren Lamjav, Deputy Minister of Health.

The first workshop took place in Red Rock resort, about 50 km outside Ulaan Baatar. This beautiful but very cold environment was very conducive for hard work from the early morning well into the evening, and relaxation through hiking before and karaoke after the work.
The National Laboratory Working Group before the ger rooms

Next »