Advanced workshop for mentors under the Better Labs for Better Health initiative
On 27–29 June 2017, 9 laboratory mentors attended an interactive workshop in Copenhagen, Denmark, organized by WHO/Europe. The 3-day advanced course introduced participants to the latest developments in laboratory projects and reviewed each mentoring activity under the Better Labs for Better Health initiative. It allowed participants to learn from each other’s experiences and to improve their mentoring competencies.
Experts presented the results of the first 5 years (2012–2017) of the Better Labs for Better Health initiative. They also provided an overview of the first 2 years of the mentoring project, highlighting the benefits that mentoring brings to laboratories. The mentoring project aims to strengthen laboratories’ abilities to provide timely and accurate laboratory results, which are essential for the early detection of acute public health events.
Participants discussed the common challenges that mentors face and worked to find potential solutions. They also discussed approaches to monitoring the laboratories’ progress.
Since August 2014, under the Better Labs for Better Health initiative, WHO/Europe and its partners have trained many laboratory professionals and quality officers from countries of eastern and south-eastern Europe in the implementation of a quality management system. To do so, they have used WHO’s Laboratory Quality Stepwise Implementation (LQSI) tool.
Even though the use of the LQSI tool minimizes the need for external assistance in the implementation process, regular mentoring remains crucial. During mentoring visits the mentors can answer critical questions, help to develop plans to overcome obstacles, perform external audits and provide training.
The objective of the mentoring project is to effectively and efficiently strengthen medical laboratories through the implementation of a quality management system based on the international quality standard ISO 15189:2012.