Establish external quality assurance program for HIV, TB, and malaria diagnosis

The importance of quality in the functioning of health care laboratories in developing countries is universally recognized. Quality assurance programs are a means to verify that laboratories are proficient in their testing processes and can obtain accurate results. WHO has urged all developing countries to establish an accredited reference laboratory to serve as the country’s focal point for External Quality Assurance for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Nigeria currently lacks such a resource.

NIMR’s Human Virology Laboratory is a national reference laboratory and the only health laboratory in the country with ISO certification. IANPHI is providing assistance and support to develop the technical competence of the staff and enhance the infrastructure at the Human Virology Laboratory to facilitate establishment of a national quality assurance program for the diagnosis and management of cases of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

The two-year research seed grant project has four phases. First is a needs assessment and training of NIMR staff on development of panels for quality assurance, followed by accreditation of the laboratory by WHO. The final implementation phase will involve periodic shipment of panels to enrolled laboratories for external quality assurance. The outcome will be establishment of a national quality assurance program in Nigeria to improve testing for diseases of public health importance and strengthen the capacity of laboratories to provide effective services.

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