Improved Specimen-Referral System and Increased Access to Quality Laboratory Services in Ethiopia: The Role of the Public-Private Partnership

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Kebede Y, et al. (2016). J Infect Dis. 213(Suppl 2): S59–S64. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiv576

This study demonstrated how public-private partnerships (PPP) can be used to address key gaps and strengthen laboratory systems. The BD-PEPFAR PPP established standardized, streamlined specimen logistics, using the Ethiopian Postal Service Enterprise to support a laboratory network. Training laboratory and postal service personnel, ensuring an adequate supply of standard specimen transport materials, improving physical specimen logistics, addressing laboratory safety, mentoring facility staff, using geographic information system (GIS) software and geographic positioning system (GPS) devices, and monitoring and evaluating the specimen referral network resulted in increased referring sites and decreased turnaround times for ART-related monitoring. This planned and structured approach to improving specimen referral enhanced access to quality laboratory services.