Leadership Development Program Strengthens Laboratory Associations in Nigeria

 {Photo credit: Gwenn Dubourthoumieu - Niger State, Nigeria}A Minna hospital employee checks a blood sample for HIV.Photo credit: Gwenn Dubourthoumieu - Niger State, Nigeria

To increase country ownership and sustainability of laboratory services and programs, the USAID-funded Prevention Organizational Systems AIDS Care and Treatment (Pro-ACT) project, led by MSH, identified the need to develop the program leadership and management capacity of local medical laboratory associations in Nigeria. 

The Pro-ACT project organized a five-day version of the Leadership Development Program (LDP) to accommodate executive members of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMSLN) at national and state levels in five Pro-ACT supported states (Kebbi, Kwara, Niger, Sokoto, and Zamfara), and for the Guild of Private Medical Laboratory Directors (GMLD).

[Executive Members of AMLSN, GMLD and MSH staff at the Leadership and Development Program (LDP) workshop held in Minna, Niger State.] {Photo: MSH staff.}Executive Members of AMLSN, GMLD and MSH staff at the Leadership and Development Program (LDP) workshop held in Minna, Niger State.Photo: MSH staff.

The objective of the workshop was to increase the leadership capacity of the associations to become innovative and creative facilitators of change within the health sector.

The workshop was structured using an experiential learning approach. Group exercises and discussions stimulated active participation and interaction. Program participants created a shared vision for accomplishing the mission of their organizations. Together, each team identified a laboratory improvement result to achieve in six months, and by the end of the program, each team had an action plan for achieving their results. Action plan implementation was conducted under close mentorship provided by the Pro-ACT Laboratory Unit.

At the end of the six month period, an end-line assessment was conducted to assess the extent of implementation of the teams’ action plans, and achievement of their measurable results.

Teams achieved results in the following areas:

  • Improving quality of medical laboratory service delivery;
  • Increasing number of directorates of medical laboratory services in 9 state ministries of health and federal health institutions;
  • Increasing implementation of 2 selected quality system essentials practices in 13 pilot laboratories; and
  • Increasing the number of qualified medical laboratory practitioners in Kebbi and Sokoto states.

To help ensure the success of their projects, teams used radio messages to sensitize the public about their activities. They also shared the skills they learned in the LDP with their colleagues, a signal that participants valued the skills they learned, and will continue to use them to strengthen laboratory services beyond the life of the Pro-ACT project.