The Public Health Care Laboratory 



The website for laboratory personnel in developing countries


Total Quality Management and Public Health Laboratories

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Total commitment and support from national  health authorities!

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Give priority to training and create an environment of continuous learning!

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Control processes through standardisation!

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Consider all cost that relate to quality services and minimise total costs!

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Provide quality laboratory services to all users!

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Establish an operational support system for supplies, equipment and supervision!

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Improve communication and break down barriers between departments!

 TQM does not conflict with the highly centralised, bureaucratic structures of public health care systems, while it facilitates the more decentralised styles of Primary Health Care and Health For All.

In 1998, the World Health Organization (WHO) renewed its appeal to support the Health for All strategy in less developed countries.  This underlines the realization that two decades after the Alma-Ata declaration, the implementation of Primary Health Care strategies has come far short of the set targets.  While physical health infrastructure has expanded in the past 20 years, actual provision of care has been limited and certain public health services are not available to large segments of the world’s population. 

Today, we find that public health laboratory services are deficient and poorly managed in many of the developing countries.  In a recent Delphi study, WHO has identified public health laboratory services as an essential public health function, vital for maintaining and improving health.  Diagnostic laboratory services are particularly important in developing countries, where according to WHO’s estimates, 43% of total deaths are still claimed by infectious and parasitic diseases.

New and innovative approaches to health care management are needed to achieve the goal of Health for All in the 21st Century. The public sector in industrialised countries has recognised this need and has successfully applied modern management tools such as Total Quality Management (TQM) to continuously improve quality of its health services. The TQM concept might provide a feasible framework to support the implementation of Health for All strategies in less developed countries. TQM calls for better management of available resources and a service-wide, comprehensive quality improvement led by central health planners. 


The Public Health Care Laboratory - 2001 © Gabriele Mallapaty