Laboratory Systems Strengthening

Health related MDGs will not be achieved in poor countries without accessible and reliable laboratory services.  Despite overwhelming evidence that laboratory services are absolutely critical for achieving the MDGs, they remain one of the most neglected components of health systems. The reasons why laboratories have been so neglected range from failure to engage laboratory staff in key decisions to a limited focus on technology rather than on effective management systems. Marginalisation and chronic neglect of laboratory services means that results are inaccurate or unknown. Consequently patients are mismanaged, drugs are wasted and surveillance data is unreliable. Until poor countries develop laboratory services they can rely on, they will continue to be dependent on externally funded and therefore unsustainable, laboratory technology to monitor disease burden and the impact of disease control programmes. Preparing TB smears Dweim Laboratory, South Sudan

Left preparing TB smears at Dweim Labaoratory. Photo taken by LATH Laboratory Systems Specialist, Russell Dacombe, on a visit to the White Nile State, Sudan to assess the quality of microscopy.