Twelve laboratories in Vietnam celebrated the successful completion of a rigorous and interactive one-year management training programme at a graduation ceremony held in Hanoi on August 29.

The Strengthening Laboratory Management Toward Accreditation programme (SLMTA) was implemented in Vietnam for the first time with technical expertise from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Vietnam Administration for Medical Services (VAMS) under the Ministry of Health.

The success of the SLMTA to improve laboratory performance has rapidly expanded the programme nationally, which will result in more timely and reliable testing for diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, and influenza.

“ After over a year of implementing SLMTA in Vietnam , we’ve seen many improvements made that meet the real needs of the laboratories,” said Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen at the ceremony.

All twelve laboratories showed improvements at different levels, shortened the time patients wait for their test results and improved the entire laboratory testing process, ” she said.

SLMTA is an international laboratory improvement programme jointly developed by CDC and the World Health Organisation, with technical input from the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

It uses internationally accepted standards adapted to the local environment and provides a “learn by doing” curriculum with hands-on training activities and regular on-site mentorship.

According to CDC Director Michelle McConnell, the SLMTA programme empowers healthcare professionals to improve their laboratories. The programme is now in its second year and soon, the number of laboratories meeting international standards will increase dramatically thanks to it.

Through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and CDC, the United States has been the leading bilateral donor and partner for strengthening the national laboratory system in Vietnam, committing more than 30 million USD since 2005 and developing new national laboratory policies and a fifteen-year national laboratory strategic plan.-VNA