Management and Development for Health (MDH)’s proposed Strengthening Laboratory Services in Tanzania (SLASTA) project will strengthen quality, accessibility, and sustainability of the Government of Tanzania’s National Health Laboratory System to achieve and monitor progress towards the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals—thus achieving the purpose and goals of the CDC Strengthening the Quality, Accessibility, and Sustainability of the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) in United Republic of Tanzania under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Building on MDH’s lessons learned and successes in conducting the CDC-funded pilot, National EQA Project, along with various PEPFAR laboratory-support initiatives, SLASTA features wide stakeholder involvement, targeted training and mentorships and strong supportive supervisions for all levels of health personnel, and the use of evidence-based interventions. Our work will build local capacity and ownership for sustainability. MDH will use the district approach to implement all project activities. This decentralized structure provides the most cost efficient and effective support to laboratories within the NHLS since more than 98% of NHLS facilities are at district and site levels. Using the district approach will also build accountability and ownership of program management and ensure both comprehensive and targeted technical and operational support and technical assistance—furthering the goal of sustainability. This model means that MDH staff work in close coordination with CHMTs and RHMTs in providing direct effective technical support to reach project objectives.
For the SLASTA Project, MDH will create five model centers of excellence at zonal laboratories where training, mentorship, and overall technical support to lower level laboratories is provided. Laboratory centers of excellence will be established at Bugando for the lake zone; at Temeke specialized laboratory for the eastern zone, at KCMC for the northern zone, and at Mbeya for the southern highland zone. The National Health Laboratory Quality Assurance and Training Center (NHLQATC) will serve as a center of excellence for the entire country. At the national level, MDH will also work with the Ministry of Health Community Development Gender Elderly and Children MOHCDGEC, The President Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PORALG), NHQATC, The National Aids Control Program (NACP), Council Health Management Teams (CHMTs), Regional Health Management Teams (RHMTs), other Implementing Partners (IPs), and the National TB and Leprosy Program (NTLP). At national, district levels, and zonal levels, MDH will provide technical assistance, training, and support in planning and implementing a national sample referral and transportation network; in scaling up viral load and early infant diagnosis testing and monitoring; in strengthening supply chain management; and in scaling up QMS, and EQA. The SLASTA Project’s centers of excellence will create an innovative partnership platform for all stakeholders to work together. These zonal and national centers will be a place for all stakeholders to provide innovative contributions to improve laboratory training and mentorship—and increase national health system quality. SLASTA will foster targeted interventions to strengthen an integrated and tiered referral network, promote quality system improvement and accreditation, strengthen and expand VL service, the LIS, SCM, and EQA. The MDH approach of implementing well-defined technical activities at national, zonal, and district levels ensures we build on past success in laborat
ory services, and that we promote ownership and sustainability through wide stakeholder involvement, especially the government, in project activities.
Established in 2009, MDH is a local CDC-funded Tanzanian medical-services not-for-profit organization headquartered in Dar-es-Salaam and with field offices in Kagera, Dodoma, Iringa, Mtwara, Morogoro,