Laboratory equipment maintenance: A critical bottleneck for strengthening health systems insub-Saharan Africa?
Peter N. Fonjungo a,*, Yenew Kebede a, Tsehaynesh Messele b, Gonfa Ayana b, Gudeta Tibesso b, AlmazAbebe b, John N. Nkengasong c, and Thomas Kenyon a
a Division of Global HIV/AIDS, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, PO Box 1014 Entoto Road, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
b Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute, PO Box 1242, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
c Division of Global HIV/AIDS, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.
Properly functioning laboratory equipment is a critical component for
strengthening health systems in developing countries. The laboratory can be an entry
point to improve population health and care of individuals for targeted diseases –
prevention, care, and treatment of TB, HIV/AIDS, and malaria, plus maternal and
neonatal health – as well as those lacking specific attention and funding. We review the
benefits and persistent challenges associated with sustaining laboratory equipment
maintenance. We propose equipment management policies as well as a comprehensive
equipment maintenance strategy that would involve equipment manufacturers and
strengthen local capacity through pre-service training of biomedical engineers. Strong
country leadership and commitment are needed to assure development and sustained
implementation of policies and strategies for standardization of equipment, and
regulation of its procurement, donation, disposal, and replacement.
Journal of Public Health Policy (2012) 33, 34–45. doi:10.1057/jphp.2011.57;
published online 10 November 2011
Keywords: laboratory equipment; maintenance; developing countries