The Public Health Care Laboratory 



The website for laboratory personnel in developing countries


Total Quality Management and Public Health Laboratories

TQM prevents failure and saves cost.

TQM prevents failure and saves cost!

In times of scare resources, we have to develop a culture of cost- consciousness, where stakeholders recognize that improving the quality of services can occur not only through the provision of additional resources, but also through better management of available resources.

Crosby, one of the quality gurus pointed out the cost implications of poor quality as he stated, “Quality is free.  It’s not a gift, but it is free”, “The cost of quality is the expense of doing things wrong”.

Examples of cost implications for “doing things wrong” are numerous in the laboratory sector.

For example, using a test-kit with 100 tests and a self-life of two months in a laboratory unit where five tests are performed per month has serious cost implications.

The costs, due to a laboratory worker not following bio-safety instructions and consequently acquiring an infectious disease, are certainly high.

The remedy, develop a culture of cost-consciousness and changes in work practices that involve:

Material: (i.e., bulk purchases, appropriate selection, inventory and stock level management, correct storage and consideration of self-life);

Methods: (i.e., following standard operating procedures, internal and external quality control programmes and health and bio-safety procedures);

Machines: (i.e., regular preventive maintenance and following operating instructions); and

Manpower: (i.e., staff training and development).


The Public Health Care Laboratory - 2001 © Gabriele Mallapaty