Friday, July 31, 2009

Accreditation Plan to Ameliorate Health Systems in Africa

Health officials from 13 countries in Africa met in Kigali to discuss goals of accreditation for laboratories throughout Africa. This accreditation plan will improve care available to patients by ensuring that laboratories meet certain standards and receive necessary funding. With help from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), action-oriented training programs will be applied to make sure health workers receive proper training. The WHO developed a 5-step accreditation process, which gives laboratories credit for improvements to ease the attainment of full accreditation. Volunteers from the American Society for Clinical Pathology will help with the training process.

At the Kigali meeting, Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda's Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, said, "We cannot provide high quality care – no matter what type of disease we're fighting – without strong laboratories.” At this meeting, experts and policy makers from Rwanda, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, and Zambia are developing strategies to implement the new accreditation program.
-Jessica Milstead