Assessing Perceived Challenges to Laboratory Testing at Kamuzu Central Hospital
Adequate laboratory infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa is vital for tackling the burden of infectious diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome, malaria, and tuberculosis, yet laboratories are ill-integrated into the diagnostic and care delivery process in low-resource settings. Although much of the literature focuses on disease-specific challenges around laboratory testing, we sought to identify horizontal challenges to the laboratory testing process through interviews with clinicians involved in the diagnostic process. Based on 22 interviews with physicians, nurses, clinical officers, medical students, and laboratory technicians, technologists and supervisors, we identified 12 distinct challenges in the areas of staff, materials, workflow, and the blood bank. These challenges underscore the informational challenges that compound more visible resource shortages in the laboratory testing process, which lend themselves to horizontal strengthening efforts around the diagnostic process.