Uganda Ministry of Health Recognizes SUSTAIN for Outstanding Contribution to Lab Sector

The Uganda Ministry of Health (MOH) awarded USAID's Strengthening Uganda's Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) project a certificate of recognition for its outstanding performance and contribution to the country's health laboratory sector. This is the second award presented to SUSTAIN for its contribution to laboratory medical service delivery. The first was the Khadil award, presented in March 2013 by the Uganda Medical Laboratory Technology Association.

SUSTAIN has enhanced the quality of HIV diagnosis, care, and treatment since 2010 through health care service provider skills' strengthening, quality improvement (QI), laboratory accreditation support, and improving laboratory infrastructure and equipment installation. In April-June 2013, over 202,580 HIV-related lab tests were conducted within project-supported labs at 18 public hospitals, a 50% increase in such tests over the previous quarter.

Working with the MOH Quality Assurance Department and the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) project, SUSTAIN uses QI principles to support regional referral and general hospitals in making their service delivery processes more efficient and effective. Laboratories at these hospitals function as referral hubs for their respective regions, effectively contributing to the Ministry's countrywide laboratory sample and results processing and transportation network.

Several SUSTAIN-supported laboratories are participating in the  Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA) initiative. Led by the World Health Organization African Region Office, SLMTA provides a framework for improving the quality of lab services in developing countries. SUSTAIN works with the Ministry and other partners to facilitate labs' participation in SLMTA and supports routine lab process improvement activities at labs that are not yet enrolled in the SLMTA program.

SUSTAIN supports lab infrastructure strengthening at 21 high-volume health facilities across Uganda. Together with hospital management teams and the MOH Infrastructure Department, the project has completed lab renovations and space improvement activities at eight hospitals (Gulu, Moroto, Mbale, Jinja, Mubende, Kabale, Fort Portal, and Hoima), with renovation activities ongoing at Lira, Soroti, Gombe, and Arua hospitals.

By SUSTAIN's conclusion in June 2015, all project-supported hospitals are intended to have fully functioning labs, improving their capacity to meet the need for high-quality health and HIV-related lab services. URC manages SUSTAIN in collaboration with the MOH, the AIDS Support Organization (TASO), Integrated Community Based Initiatives (ICOBI), Health Research Inc. (HRI), and Initiatives Inc.

*Julian Natukunda, Communication Specialist; Bernadeta M. Nagita, Executive and Communications Assistant; Olivera Stojanovic, Program Officer; and Fridah Wanjiku, Communications Intern

July 04, 2015
Regions/ Countries