The overall goal of the Enhancing Quality of Healthcare Activity (EQHA) project in Cambodia is to improve the quality of public and private health services in national and sub-national health systems by August 2023. The project, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), is being implemented by Family Health International (FHI360) in collaboration with I-TECH and other partner organizations. I-TECH’s scope of work focuses on improvements to 1) the national health policy regulatory framework and 2) national pre-service health education and training institutions.
High-quality, effective, and evidence-based service delivery for HIV care and prevention requires a broad continuum of integrated and linked services to ensure consistent and high-quality client management over time. With the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation to “Treat All,” eligibility for antiretroviral therapy (ART) among People Living with HIV (PLHIV) is eliminated, and all populations and age groups are linked in one universal policy. This recommendation change erases the distinction between all groups. However, a substantial number of PLHIV still present late to care and have advanced disease, and require interventions that prioritize clinical packages to reduce mortality and morbidity and eventually enable them to become clinically stable .
I-TECH Tanzania led the development of the task-sharing policy guidelines for Health Sector Services approved in 2016 as well as the policy’s operational plan. While task-sharing is a widely known HIV service delivery efficiency strategy, still there is continues gaps between national strategies and actual implementation at the site-level [1,2].
Representatives from the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) attended the fourth international African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) conference in Abuja, Nigeria, on 10-13 December 2018.
The theme this year focused on the role of laboratories in preventing and controlling the next pandemic. I-TECH had seven abstracts accepted at the conference that highlighted the laboratory systems strengthening work done by I-TECH in Cambodia, Côte d’Ivoire, and Zambia. The full abstracts presented by I-TECH can be found in the ASLM 2018 Conference Abstracts Conference Book.
Below is a summary of I-TECH presentations:
- Siew Kim Ong, I-TECH Cambodia Project Coordinator, was lead author and presenter for the “Improved Laboratory Compliance to Quality Standards in Cambodian Laboratories through On-site Trainings.” This abstract reviewed the effect of training in 12 I-TECH-mentored laboratories in Cambodia on laboratory processes (Page 27).
- Nayah Ndefru, I-TECH Seattle Laboratory Strengthening Specialist, presented an abstract titled, “Effectiveness of Using a Mixed Approach of On-site Mentoring and Tele-mentoring for Improving Laboratory Quality Management Systems: Lessons From Cambodia.” The presentation looked at the lessons learned in the implementation of a Quality Management System (QMS) in 12 national hospital laboratories throughout Cambodia and the 2018 pilot approach to addressing the QMS gaps identified in an earlier baseline survey (Page 55).
- Larissa Koffi, I-TECH Côte d’Ivoire RTCQI Specialist, presented two posters: One titled, “Analysis of EQA HIV Serology Data in Côte d’Ivoire Reveals Gaps in Quality Testing.” The second poster was “Analysis of HIV Point of Care Testing Sites in Côte d’Ivoire Reveals Gaps in Tester Competence.” The posters displayed the results of a retrospective study that can inform strategies and interventions for improved quality at HIV testing sites (Page 200).
- Sylvestre Kone, I-TECH Côte d’Ivoire Laboratory Quality Specialist, presented a poster titled “Improving Quality and Capacity of the Laboratory System in Côte d’Ivoire.” The poster detailed the work the team is doing to train and mentor laboratory staff in hospital laboratories towards achieving international quality standards (Page 242).
- Felicity Gopolang, I-TECH Laboratory Mentor Consultant, presented a poster titled, “Implementation of a Professional Development Program in Laboratory Leadership and Quality Management in Zambia from 2016-2018.” The poster outlined the impact of the Program on quality improvement (Page 206).
- Pat Sadate-Ngatchou, I-TECH Seattle Senior Laboratory Advisor, was lead author on the poster titled “Improvement of Quality Practices within HIV Point-of-Care testing (POCT) Sites in Côte d’Ivoire Through Implementation of the Rapid Test Continuous Quality Improvement (RTCQI),” which explored the impact of the implementation of RTCQI in POCT site audits (Page 246).
The mission of ASLM is to improve clinical and public health outcomes in Africa by enhancing professional laboratory practice, science and networks. Based on five strategic pillars, ASLM serves the community of laboratory professionals and promotes the value of strong medical laboratories to key stakeholders such as the Ministries of Health, research laboratories, and universities. ASLM is an independent, non-profit organization endorsed by the African Union and headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The I-TECH Certificate Program in Laboratory Leadership and Management (CPLLM) is a nine-month course that trains laboratory staff in supervisory positions leadership and management skills to make substantive and impactful improvements in laboratory testing quality and operations. The program was developed in 2013 and first piloted in 2014.
The International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) Ukraine, in partnership with the Ukrainian Family Medicine Training Center of Bogomolets National Medical University, conducted a three-day training course for clinical educators on principles and innovative methods for effective teaching. The course was held outside Kyiv from 18-20 September 2018.
Facilitating the training were Ann Downer, EdD, I-TECH Executive Director and Professor in the University of Washington Department of Global Health, and Michael Reyes, MD, MPH, I-TECH co-founder and Professor in the University of California, San Francisco Department of Family and Community Medicine.
The course focused primarily on new teaching methods and stronger instructional design for clinical courses taught by faculty, especially those with content on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and malaria. The objectives included helping clinical educators to:
- strengthen learning objectives and measurement of student learning;
- vary their use of teaching methods; and
- revise lectures to make them more interactive.
The course modeled these objectives by using small group work and other teaching methods to increase engagement.
“Over the course of three days, I was able to learn techniques and best practices to actively engage my course participants into the learning process,” says Galyna Vynogradova, Associate Professor of the Ukrainian Family Medicine Training Center and participant of the training.
This training course is a part of a larger I-TECH effort to build the clinical and managerial capacity of HIV/AIDS service providers throughout Ukraine.
I-TECH will continue to support the National Department of Health (NDoH) in the process of strengthening the policy management and implementation systems with a focus on reaching the 90-90-90 targets.
I-TECH will support the implementation of a Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC) phased intervention to enhance ward-based Outreach Team (WBOT).
I-TECH will support Human Resource and Primary Healthcare Directorate-led training and capacity development initiatives through training and mentoring activities based on gaps identified from assessment of health care worker competencies, with emphasis placed on the Professional Nurse.
In collaboration with the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and The Knowledge Translation Unit, I-TECH is working with the National Department of Health (NDoH) to strengthen the integration of mental health services into routine chronic care within the primary health care system.