WHO/Europe provides mentoring towards ISO 15189 accreditation

WHO

WHO/Europe is requesting applications for mentoring support towards laboratory quality improvement and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 15189 accreditation. 

Laboratory quality systems implementation

Since August 2014, under the Better Labs for Better Health initiative, WHO/Europe and its partners have trained 99 laboratory professionals and quality officers from 25 countries in eastern and south-eastern Europe and Kosovo (in accordance with Security Council resolution 1244 (1999)). The training was on the implementation of a quality management system, according to ISO 15189, using the Laboratory Quality Stepwise Implementation (LQSI) tool, available in English and Russian. Trainees came from national public health laboratories such as national influenza centres, antimicrobial resistance reference laboratories and clinical diagnostic laboratories. Additional trainings in the WHO European Region are envisaged in the near future.

Although use of the LQSI tool minimizes the need for external assistance in the implementation process, regular mentoring remains crucial. During these mentoring visits, mentors can answer questions, help to develop action plans to overcome obstacles, perform external audits and provide training. 

Pool of mentors

WHO/Europe is working with mentors who have theoretical and practical knowledge of ISO 15189:2012 and/or ISO 17025:2005, as well as at least 5 years of experience working in a laboratory.

Mentors were selected during a workshop, which took place in September 2015, where they were briefed on the desired mentoring style and approach, and tested on their quality knowledge and communication aptitudes. They were also introduced to the structure of the LQSI tool and briefed on how to use it in practice. 

Laboratories to be mentored

The Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in the Netherlands and WHO/Europe provided training on laboratory quality and the use of the LQSI tool for the implementation of a laboratory quality management system in 2014 and 2015 to the laboratories to be mentored. 

Approach

The approach consists of certain activities.

  • The mentor will travel to the designated partner country for up to 5 days per laboratory for in-country mentorship every 3 or 4 months. 
  • A mentoring plan will be developed for each laboratory.
  • In between the in-country mentoring visits, the mentor will provide remote assistance by email and/or phone calls.

Application

Interested laboratory staff who have participated in LQSI training and are interested in establishing mentor support for quality improvement and accreditation may contact Dr Caroline Brown, Programme Manager, Influenza and Other Respiratory Pathogens at WHO/Europe, (cbr@euro.who.int) to discuss potential support.