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Total Quality Management and Public Health Laboratories

TQM requires top management support.

TQM requires top management support!

Public health care services in developing countries operate under constraints of limited resources, high demands and competing health problems.  Furthermore, we often find unequal allocation of resources between different levels of facilities, workforce categories and various departments.

This particularly affects primary health care (PHC) laboratory services.  Often, central laboratories receive the lionís share of financial support or funds are directed towards disease-specific programmes.  Staff training is insufficient and few unifying professional organisations exist.  Particularly at the peripheral level, laboratory units are understaffed, underutilised and do not receive the importance they deserve.  In the scenario described above, "Quality", is an alien word.

Central health planners have to work and operate within these given constraints. The first step towards changing the status quo, is for central health planners to define national objectives and display total commitment to a quality transformation process.

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