Blog Image

DATOS blog

DATOS celebrates its fourth anniversary

Latest Posted on Jun 23, 2020 10:14:01

On 1 April 2020 we reached our fourth anniversary in the midst of an international health crisis. Many of our customers, colleagues and friends are working hard to fight the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic shows yet again the importance of laboratory services for public health and clinical care: the laboratories are the eyes and ears of the early warning system, laboratory results are at the basis of epidemiological investigations, and they are crucial for proper patient care. You can find a summary of our activities over the past year in our newsletter. We will continue to do our best to assist laboratories, laboratory workers and governments worldwide to fulfill this crucial role. If there is anything with which we can help you, please let us know.

Strengthening EQA for AMR testing on the African Continent

Latest Posted on Mar 17, 2020 14:12:14

The African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) is leading a consortium for the Fleming Fund regional grant on strengthening External Quality Assessment (EQA) for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) testing in Africa. The consortium consists of technical partners, including Public Health England, the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa, and the Africa Centers for Disease Control (Africa CDC), with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO-AFRO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) together forming the advisory committee. Fleming Fund is a UK Aid programme that seeks to help low- and middle-income countries to improve AMR surveillance.

On 10 and 11 February ASLM, in collaboration with Africa CDC, organized a regional stakeholders meeting on EQA for AMR testing. During the regional meeting, Tjeerd Datema presented results of a desk study, conducted by DATOS, which provided insight in:

  • Current international/regional EQA programmes for AMR
  • Participation and performance of African laboratories (both human and animal health and environment) in EQA for AMR
  • Barriers and enabling factors in organizing EQA schemes
  • Barriers and enabling factors in participating in EQA schemes
  • Major cost items of organizing EQA schemes
  • Creating a financially sustainable model for organizing EQA at international level
Tjeerd presenting findings of the literature study

During the meeting, valuable input was provided by stakeholders and partners on priorities for strengthening EQA for AMR testing in the region. The overall aim was to identify and prioritize the major activities that can be undertaken to strengthen EQA for AMR testing on the African continent, which will be addressed in the second phase of the regional grant for Africa of the Fleming Fund. It became very clear that implementation of laboratory quality management system requirements is a prerequisite for successful scale-up and effectiveness of EQA programs.

Nepal: developing a National Laboratory Strategic Plan

Latest Posted on Feb 24, 2020 10:07:38

A National Laboratory Strategic Plan gives countries direction in the performance and strengthening of their laboratory services and puts them in the driving seat regarding the laboratory strengthening activities that they want to perform. After going through a period of transition, the Federal Republic of Nepal is now ready and eager to develop their National Laboratory Strategic Plan.

Under the leadership of the National Public Health Laboratory and with support from Save the Children Nepal/Global Fund, more than 30 experts from national and provincial level convened in Kathmandu from 10-14 February 2020 to start the development of the National Laboratory Strategic Plan. During a 5-day meeting DATOS’ Linda Oskam facilitated the assessment of the current state of the laboratory services and the performance of a SWOT analysis. The group identified eleven topics for the National Laboratory Strategic Plan and made a start with the formulation of strategic objectives.

In March 2020 we intend to finalize the development of the draft National Laboratory Strategic Plan and make it available for wider policy dialogue.

Competent leaders for Tanzania to fight Antimicrobial Resistance

Latest Posted on Jan 16, 2020 10:19:24

Detecting antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and promoting rational antimicrobial use (AMU) are crucial in the fight against infectious diseases. Without these two factors we will quickly loose the possibility to treat infections in the coming decades. Creating a global pool of national and international leaders that are willing and capable to act as champions in this struggle is a crucial step in the battle against AMR.

In December 2019 Linda Oskam provided a 2½ day course in Tanzania to help (future) leaders with the development of their management and leadership competencies and also taught them how to create and improve quality assured processes. The course was provided in collaboration with the Uganda Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) and targeted six Fleming Fund Fellows and three young scientists who will serve as (future) Tanzanian leaders in the fight against AMR. The course was highly appreciated by the participants and received an average score of 9.6/10.

The course was provided for the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM), which is the lead of a consortium with Africa CDC, University of Amsterdam, African Field Epidemiology Network, Utrecht University, Noguchi Medical Research Center, IDI and DATOS. It is funded by the Fleming Fund, a UK Aid programme that seeks to help low- and middle-income countries to improve AMR surveillance.

After the course, the six Fleming Fellows continued to work on their joint country Fleming Fund Fellowship plan assisted by IDI. During the development of this plan they could immediately start implementing their newly acquired skills.

LQSI tool/Quality Management System assessment at the Bangladesh Institute of Tropical Infectious Diseases

Latest Posted on Dec 12, 2019 09:02:57

In the last week of November DATOS conducted an in-depth quality management system assessment at the Bangladesh Institute of Tropical Infectious Diseases (BITID). This was part of the Quality Initiative project of the Mérieux Foundation. This project aims to ensure that members of the GABRIEL research network meet the requirements of international standards for medical laboratory quality and competence. The initiative, which boosts a lab’s overall performance, is built upon Laboratory Quality Stepwise Implementation tool (LQSI tool).

BITID, located in Chittagong, Bangladesh, started in 2013 under the Health Population and Nutrition sector Program (HNPSP) of the Government of Bangladesh. It aims at addressing health needs related to tropical diseases by conducting and promoting education and training, conducting research and disseminating results, providing clinical services in tropical health conditions and promoting health and measures for prevention of illness.

In 2015, BITID opened the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory with support from the Mérieux Foundation. This is a 250 m2 facility dedicated to research, training and biological analysis focused on tuberculosis, respiratory and enteric infections. It is part of a network of 19 members in 15 countries.

Upon completion of the assessment, a one-day workshop was organized to present and analyze the assessment results and develop a plan for continuing further implementation of the quality management system towards ISO 15189 accreditation.

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.

Next »