CDC Grant Accelerates ASCP’s International Outreach
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Through its partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ASCP improves more laboratories, educates more healthcare workers, and, ultimately, saves more lives in resource-limited countries. For the fourth consecutive year of President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief II (PEPFAR II), the CDC awarded a grant to the ASCP Institute for Global Outreach from 2011 to 2012, effective Sept. 1. The CDC and ASCP have collaborated on PEPFAR initiatives since 2005.
As a key collaborator in accomplishing PEPFAR’s goals, ASCP taps into the skills of its more than 100,000 members both to train laboratory professionals and to provide them with a strategic road map to achieve accreditation for their laboratory services. ASCP members are traveling to nations from sub-Saharan Africa to Central Asia to South America.
“We are very thankful to receive the CDC grant, which allows us to continue our successful training of laboratory professionals and instituting quality initiatives within laboratories for 17 nations worldwide,” said Catherine D. Robinson, MSA, MLS(ASCP)CM, Technical Manager for the ASCP Institute of Global Outreach. “We can target more people to build a workforce that is prepared to continue quality testing and reporting and assist laboratories to maintain their momentum for improvements, which leads to enhanced patient care.”
Currently, ASCP has three primary initiatives for PEPFAR II: laboratory medicine curriculum development in collaboration with in-country universities; enhanced training for laboratory professionals; and development of the laboratory management tool “Strengthening Laboratory Management Toward Accreditation” (SLMTA). The World Health Organization and collaborating partners, including ASCP, created SLMTA to accelerate the accreditation of national laboratory services targeted for resource-limited countries worldwide.
In Namibia, Ms. Robinson was part of the team that performed a baseline assessment of a laboratory and then returned six months later for post-assessment. The team evaluated patient and staff safety, workflow processes, and quality control on every instrument before specimens to ensure accurate, reliable, and timely results for clinicians. During the baseline assessment, overhead electrical cords were draped over the equipment, even wound around the water faucet. Staff went to lunch together, leaving a big gap in laboratory testing mid-day. Six months later, she reported the electrical cords had disappeared, and staff had alternated their lunch breaks, so laboratory testing was not interrupted.
“Little improvements make a big difference,” Ms. Robinson said. “The laboratory team was so enthusiastic and worked together to make these improvements happen. Their laboratory results are getting reported much more quickly to clinicians and then to patients. All the improvements are processes within the SLMTA management tool; all our workshops coordinate to accelerate the accreditation process globally.”
If you are interested in joining the corps of ASCP dedicated volunteers for overseas assignments, go to www.ascp.org/OutreachApply.
ASCP is particularly seeking members who are fluent in Russian.