This Strategic Plan (2010/11-2014/15) is a major milestone in the journey towards quality, responsive, accessible and cost effective laboratory services. A well developed laboratory system is a fundamental and crucial component of any health system. Laboratory services range from diagnosis of health/disease conditions for individual patients to national disease surveillance and control of disease outbreaks. It therefore requires the necessary attention and resource investment to fulfill its function.
The health system in Uganda aims to deliver a defined National Minimum Health Care Package (UNMHCP) to every member of the Ugandan population. To achieve this laboratory services must be well managed, coordinated and funded. The laboratory services of Uganda have lacked fiscal support required to fulfill their role resulting in increased health care delivery cost due to inadequate disease identification, missed diagnoses, poor case monitoring and management as well as delays in disease outbreak management. This strategic plan is a tool for implementing the National Health Laboratory Policy 2009 as part of the National Health Investment Plan 2010/11 – 2014/15 and aims to rectify this situation.
The National Health Laboratory Services Policy was developed and launched in 2009. This policy outlines the vision, goals, and strategies for strengthening key thematic areas of laboratory services in the country to facilitate adequate support to the UNMHCP. In the past decade, laboratory services for HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria have seen marked improvement as a result of increased activity and funding in these areas largely by international health partners. During this period of time, the importance of laboratory services has been progressively acknowledged by MoH, its partners in health and stakeholders.
The development of this National Health Laboratory Strategic Plan began in 2009 through a number of stakeholder consultations and meetings. It provides a national framework and guidance for implementation and investments in laboratory services by the Government and Health Development partners. It is a very useful and powerful guiding tool for the planning and implementation of programs towards strengthening laboratory services in the country in the public and private sector as well as the general Health sector.
The Ministry of Health is committed to strengthening the coordination and quality of laboratory services to support the Uganda National Minimum Health Care Package. All stakeholders and partners are therefore called upon to examine the strategic plan, assess their involvement in the current laboratory services, and thereafter align their present and future activities with the guidelines laid out in this strategic plan.
Dr. Jane Aceng
Director General for Health Services, Ministry Of Health