Medical laboratories in sub-Saharan Africa that meet international quality standards

Am J Clin Pathol. 2014 Jun;141(6):791-5. doi: 10.1309/AJCPQ5KTKAGSSCFN.


Objectives: A recent survey of laboratories in Kampala, Uganda, demonstrated that only 0.3% of laboratories (3/954) met international quality standards. To benchmark laboratory quality throughout the rest of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), we compiled a list of SSA laboratories meeting international quality standards.

Methods: Accrediting bodies were queried via online registries or direct communication in May 2013.

Results: There were 380 laboratories accredited to international standards in SSA. Ninety-one percent were in South Africa. Thirty-seven of 49 countries had no laboratories accredited to international quality standards. Accredited laboratory density (per million people) in South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana were similar to those in many European countries. Single variable linear regression showed a correlation between accredited laboratory density and health expenditures per person (adjusted R(2) = 0.81, P < .001).

Conclusions: Most SSA countries do not have an accredited clinical laboratory. For those that do, there is a strong correlation between country-specific accredited laboratory density and per-capita health expenditures.

Keywords: Accreditation; Africa; Global health; Laboratory; Quality.

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation / standards*
  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Benchmarking / methods*
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / standards
  • Data Collection
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Laboratories / standards*
  • Linear Models
  • Quality of Health Care / standards*
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data