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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

DATOS continues to mentor two laboratories in Myanmar

Latest Posted on Jan 19, 2019 06:39:17

This month DATOS provides continued mentoring support to the National TB Reference Laboratory and the NTP Central Mandalay Branch Laboratory in Myanmar. This is part of the Challenge TB project funded by USAID. Both laboratories are implementing a quality management system based on ISO 15189.

Multiple year mentoring project

In 2016 DATOS provided training on laboratory biorisk management and laboratory quality management, followed by a thorough situational analysis at both laboratories. Since February 2017 the laboratories have been implementing a laboratory quality management system (LQMS) using the LQSI tool ( with mentoring support of FHI360 and DATOS. Over the past two years the laboratories have made significant progress with the LQMS implementation.

Continuous improvement

During this visit DATOS focused on mentoring on document control and quality indicators. The laboratories have now implemented a complete document control system and have identified and started monitoring quaity indicators, which will enable the laboratories to identify opportunities to continuously improve their performance.

SLIPTA guideline workshop in Brazzaville

Latest Posted on Oct 18, 2018 16:18:14

From 16 to 18 October 2018 Linda Oskam participated in a workshop organized
by the WHO Regional Office for Africa in Congo Brazzaville. During this
workshop, 13 experts discussed the (Stepwise Laboratory Quality Improvement
Process Towards Accreditation (SLIPTA) program and revised the current

The SLIPTA program aims to assist laboratories in the African
Region (and at a later stage possibly beyond) to implement a quality management
system compliant with ISO15189. The SLIPTA checklist is used by certified
SLIPTA auditors to assess the status of the quality management system.

Continued support to Pakistan with the development of National Laboratory Quality Standards

Latest Posted on Oct 18, 2018 07:35:29

Earlier this year we reported about our assistance to the National Laboratory Working Group of Pakistan to develop National Laboratory Quality Standards. This week another workshop is organized with the National Laboratory Working Group (NLWG) of Pakistan to take the next steps towards finalization of these standards.

Pakistan is a country with numerous clinical laboratories, of which more than 70% are part of the private sector. Although several provinces are planning to implement a licensing system, the quality of services provided by most laboratories is unknown.

Through development of National Laboratory Quality Standards, the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (WHO-EMRO) and the WHO Country Office of Pakistan aim to strengthen laboratories and the laboratory system of Pakistan.

To optimally meet the needs of the laboratories in Pakistan, the National Laboratory Quality Standard of Pakistan will be tiered, allowing for a phased approach to laboratory quality strengthening.

DATOS has also assisted Pakistan through WHO-EMRO with developing a National Laboratory Policy and Strategic Plan, thus aiming at overall laboratory system improvement.

For more information contact us directly at contact(at)

Mentoring the Malawi National TB Laboratory Expert

Latest Posted on Oct 08, 2018 10:39:41

In September
2018, DATOS’ Linda Oskam worked closely together with the National TB
Laboratory Expert (NTLE) of Malawi, Dr. Mirriam Nyenje. The current visit was
the last one of four missions sponsored by Challenge TB that aimed at mentoring
Dr. Nyenje and assisting with the strengthening of the TB laboratory network.
During the current mission the emphasis was on the future: action plans were
prepared for the introduction of new technologies, (further) upgrading of the culture
laboratories in the country and the mentoring of the zonal supervisors by Dr.
Nyenje. At the end of the mission Dr. Nyenje received a Certificate of Recognition
for all the new activities she initiated and the hard work she has performed to improve the TB laboratory services in Malawi during
the timeframe of the project.

DATOS teaches at Fondation Mérieux’ Advanced Course on Diagnostics (ACDx)

Latest Posted on Sep 24, 2018 11:52:05

Last week the 9th edition of the ACDx course was organized by Fondation Mérieux in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, in Annecy, France. ACDx advocates for the value of diagnostics in global health and builds capacity for critical decision-making on diagnostics in the developing world through partnerships and networks.

This week-long intensive course enhances the knowledge and professional network of participants. This year the focus was on AMR and access to quality-assured diagnostics, in addition to an overview of the latest advances in the field.

DATOS facilitated a session on the role of quality management in diagnostic systems, discussing the role of quality management in laboratories and in point of care testing, and at health systems level.

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