As a result of SPC’s advocacy, Vanuatu’s Ministry of Health now has two laboratory officers who are national champions for strengthening lab-based surveillance activities. The dedicated focal points will help ensure sustainability in this area.
Another achievement is the improved surveillance network in Vanuatu, with enhanced links, communication and information sharing between the national medical laboratory and provincial hospital laboratories. At the regional level, SPC’s support has improved relationships and networking between the Vanuatu national health laboratory and surveillance reference laboratories in the Pacific.
‘With the continuous strong support and the proactive involvement of SPC in Vanuatu, there is great improvement in the Vanuatu national surveillance network and links to the provincial hospital labs throughout Vanuatu. This has strengthened the laboratory diagnostic service in providing quality needs…Vanuatu lab surveillance has built a good relationship with other surveillance reference laboratories in the Pacific region with the great assistance of SPC.’ – George Pakoa, Laboratory Director, Vanuatu.
With 10 new IATA-certified shippers, the Ministry of Health has improved its capacity to ship specimens to reference laboratories abroad in compliance with standards. Meanwhile, as a result of audits of quality management systems in several provincial laboratories, staff and health managers now know how their laboratories rate against the desired benchmarks. Follow-up training in laboratory quality management has enhanced the capacity of 15 ni- Vanuatu laboratory workers, including in meeting requirements for accurate and timely reporting.
- Securing support at the highest level (e.g. involving laboratory directors), assigning local champions and working with frontline staff are all critical for local buy-in and the sustainability of improvements.
- Health staff are often shift SPC’s approach of delivering all training modules twice during a country visit caters for workers’ availability at different times.