Universal and affordable health care has been central to the planning of India’s health system. The Government of India (GoI), under various health programs, has supported scale up of operations to meet the increasing health care demands of the country. To ensure quality service delivery, there is a need for building capacity of health care workers and the public sector laboratory workforce, for better implementation and coverage at all levels. Substantial effort and resources have been devoted to the creation of a wide network of public sector health facilities and laboratory networks.
Technical partnerships with international agencies have an enormous potential to improve health systems. It also presents an opportunity for, collaborations on common goals and for tapping the strengths, methodology and resources of various experts in the field to foster sustainability. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) leveraged the support of the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its endeavour to strengthen the public health system in India through the Labs for Life project to strengthen and improve quality of operations in existing public laboratory networks through multitude of activities across multiple states.
The Labs for Life project was progressively implemented in phases. In the first phase, the project had operations in 20 facilities in 10 districts across 6 states in India, with activities aimed at strengthening laboratory operations and developing Quality Management Systems.
Phase II & III of the project was implemented at public health laboratories with colocated ART centres. The goal in these phases was to demonstrate a model of quality assured diagnostic services for comprehensive clinical management of PLHIV and co-infections, especially TB, and strengthen laboratory-clinical interface. Activities were implemented in 23 ART co-located public health laboratories in six HIV priority districts of Maharashtra (15) & Andhra Pradesh (8).
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