Deploying for the first time in Vietnam, the success of the “Strengthening laboratory management toward accreditation” program (SLMTA) has supported the Vietnam’s Ministry of Health’s Administration for Medical Services to rapidly scale-up the program nationally, which will result in more timely and reliable testing for diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, and influenza.
“After over a year of implementing SLMTA in Vietnam, we’ve seen many improvements made that meet the real needs of the laboratories. All twelve laboratories showed improvements at different levels, shortened the time patients wait for their test results and improved the entire laboratory testing process,” said Ms Nguyen Thi Xuyen, Vice Minister of Health.
SLMTA is an international laboratory improvement program developed jointly by CDC and the World Health Organization, with technical input from the American Society for Clinical Pathology. SLMTA is unique in that, instead of using a “pass” or “fail” system, the program is divided into tiers and the goal is for the lab to improve from where they are and climb the steps toward accreditation.
It uses internationally accepted standards adapted to the local environment and provides a “learn by doing” curriculum with hands-on training activities and regular on-site mentorship.
A high quality laboratory system is the cornerstone of a strong and sustainable national health system. Yet only a small percentage of the nearly one thousand laboratories in Vietnam are accredited to international standards. So that, SLMTA empowers healthcare professionals to improve their laboratories.
Since 2005, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and CDC, the US has been the leading bilateral donor and partner for strengthening the national laboratory system in Vietnam, committing more than USD30 million and developing new national laboratory policies and a fifteen-year national laboratory strategic plan./.