In vitro diagnostics and laboratory technology

Country projects

Laboratory services at the district level

In countries with limited resources, even rural health facilities can manage the most common diseases and those with outbreak potential by carrying out simple laboratory tests. Unfortunately, adequate diagnostic laboratory services sometimes fails and leads to inappropriate or wrong treatment.

The underlying causes can be

  • Shortage of skilled staff
  • Substandard infrastructure
  • Obsolete laboratory procedures

Modern equipment can therefore be ineffective unless staff are trained to use it, and it is properly maintained. Without a quality management programme, it is difficult to avoid bad laboratory results.

One project which is aiming to overcome these problems involves three countries in East Africa, namely Kenya, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania.

In each country, a National Quality Assurance Advisory Body has been established, as well as legal framework to regulate both laboratory premises and laboratory staff. A standard list of essential laboratory procedures is supported by generic standard operating procedures for use in district health services in all three countries. The project has already had a great impact on the quality of laboratory services and has allowed the countries to achieve goals that would have been difficult to achieve individually.

The WHO Essential Medicines and Health Products assists countries to achieve a safe and reliable level of health services in a variety of health technologies through its Basic Operational Frameworks. With the scaling up of interventions against the major diseases of poverty - HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria - the need for in vitro diagnostic and laboratory services has never been greater.

Related documents


Request for Proposals

22 MARCH 2017

The Prequalification Team is publishing a request for proposals for consultancy services relating to - developing and maintaining the Quality Management Systems (QMS) and assuming the responsibility for on-going system maintenance and effectiveness of operations within the Prequalification Team.

The services required by the World Health Organization (WHO) are more fully described in the below attached Terms of Reference and Request for Proposals.

Proposals should be submitted to WHO in writing no later than 5 April 2017 at 17:00 hours Geneva time ("the closing date"), by email at the following address:


Contact us

Prequalification Team - Diagnostics
Regulation of Medicines and other Health Technologies
Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products
World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia
1211, Geneva 27