Port Louis - Thirty-two laboratory professionals responsible in the establishment and implementation of Quality Management System (QMS) have been trained during a five-day training workshop prior to the implementation of the Laboratory Quality Management System (LQMS) in Mauritius. The training of trainers aimed at building capacity of diagnostics laboratories and improve quality diagnostic service in the country. The training was conducted by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in close collaboration with the World Health Organization.
The training of trainers, held virtually due to COVID-19 pandemic, was facilitated by three consultants who shared knowledge and skills on the 18 Laboratory Quality Management System (LQMS) using teach back methodology via the Zoom platform. The trainees were teamed up into groups to practice during the break-up sessions under the virtual guidance and instruction of the facilitators. The WHO country office provided the training logistics and hosted the virtual training via Zoom Platform.
Dr S. Manraj, Director Laboratory Services, spoke on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, during the opening of the training of trainers and highlighted the importance of working together as a team.
“The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Hon K. K. Jagutpal is very much committed in implementing Quality Management System,” said Dr S. Manraj. “The Ministry is investing more resources to improve the laboratory services in Mauritius. More space will be allocated to the laboratory service,” he added.
“In Mauritius, at the start of the outbreak, 10 PCR tests were done daily, and the Ministry invested significantly to reach 1400 PCR tests daily,” said Dr S. Manraj.
The strong support received from WHO was recognized by the Director Laboratory Services who expressed his appreciation to Dr Laurent Musango, WHO Representative in Mauritius, for supporting the country during the COVID-19 outbreak and all throughout the process of improving laboratory quality management.
“WHO supported the country in establishing the COVID-19 testing centres and in conducting the risk assessment and provided guidance in establishing the laboratory at the airport. Mauritius now has four COVID-19 testing PCR laboratories,” said Dr S. Manraj who also added that in Mauritius, laboratory testing is free of charge.
Mauritius is working towards the WHO accreditation for LQMS as the world faces new challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mauritius is getting prepared to control the new COVID-19 variants and in implementing the WHO Recommendations for sequencing.
Dr Janaki Sonoo, Pathologist-in-charge of the National Blood Transfusion Services, in her welcome address pointed out that, “following the SLIPTA workshop in 2019, the need was felt that we do not only need a training on auditing but training on QMS as the laboratory professionals need to be aware of quality management to be able to do a proper auditing.”
“We are very appreciative of the support provided by WHO all throughout the process of quality management as well as during the COVID-19 outbreak without forgetting the support provided last year in conducting the training in quality control for the blood transfusion service,” added Dr J. Sonoo.
Dr Laurent Musango, WHO Representative in Mauritius, during his address, highlighted “Quality control plays a very important role in both clinical and public health as it indicated the quality of testing you are doing.” He added that the Health Laboratories play critical role both for clinical as well as public health role, and health outcomes depend on the accuracy of the testing and reporting.
‘If you give a wrong result, you can imagine the impact this can have on taking medicines and the consequences on health,” said Dr L. Musango to the laboratory professionals attending the training.
Dr L. Musango emphasized, “laboratory is one of the 10 pillars in management and prevention of COVID-19 and strengthening laboratory services and systems is essential for universal access to high quality laboratory diagnostic services.” He pointed out the critical role played by laboratories in public health and in preventing outbreaks and how it can delay public health response and cause worldwide pandemic.
WHO has been emphasizing the importance of diagnostic testing as part of a comprehensive strategy to control pandemic. This support has been in the form of establishing regional COVID-19 reference Laboratory Network, or publishing information on setting up a validated PCR test, enabling its roll out, supporting supply of reagents and supplies for PCR tests.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made countries realised how laboratories are a critical part of the health systems and every patient deserves right diagnosis in a timely manner and it takes careful planning, organization and implementation of laboratory quality management systems. Implementing Laboratory quality management systems is the best way to get right results and promote the use of laboratory services to aid decision making around evidence-based medicine.
The second phase of the training planned for February 2021 will focus more on the trainees’ understanding of the content and implementation and their capability to mentor, teach and drive the changes towards improvement in quality. It will also include group discussion on LQMS implementation strategies and plan to rollout LQMS training to others in the laboratory tier system.