Laboratory Project: Togo

  • Community Growth
  • Health
  • Technology
  • Togo
This project is led by Sophia Esper, a Volunteer from Indiana

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Through extensive discussion and analysis of village development needs, the entire community has demonstrated motivation to install a laboratory at our clinic. This project will help clinic staff and all community members. The results of lab tests will provide a better understanding of the community’s health status, allowing more targeted training. Additionally the availability of more accurate diagnosis should increase the community’s trust in the clinic, increasing reliance on clinic treatment rather than traditional practices or no treatment at all. The community is very motivated for the success of the laboratory project. We have formed a savings bureau to reach the community's twenty-five percent requirement for the grant project. We have reached that goal, and continue to have meetings to keep everyone informed of the next steps and progression of the project. Educational awareness activities will be planned for all seven villages educating community members of the benefits of laboratory analysis and what services the laboratory will provide for them. Finally, with a motivated community and inspiring staff of the USP, having the opportunity to obtain a laboratory for the clinic will increase its capacity to provide much needed services.

Since the community’s decision to obtain a laboratory for the health center, all seven villages immediately started saving money. It has been agreed by village through community meetings that by the addition of a laboratory in the clinic, the community will be paying for the lab technician's salary. My counterpart, a state nurse, and I have gotten permission for the laboratory project from the DPS of Kara. The Kara DPS has also signed authorization for the sending of a temporary Lab Technician until our designated community member has finished training. The DPS also provided a price list of materials needed for the laboratory. A bureau was formed on March 8, 2018 of seven community members, one to represent each village. Each member is responsible for encouraging and managing the saving of money for the communities contributing towards the project.

A qualified community member has been chosen by community vote to be trained as the laboratory technician. He is being trained at another Health Clinic by the lab technician. The training is for two years. He started the training on June 11, 2018. We have located a room in there for him to live while training. The payment of room and board living will be community contribution.

The lab will sustain it's continued operation by systems used in all local clinics where a combination of fees paid by patients and government funding cover the cost of supplies and the salaries of clinic workers. A fee schedule has been established for services. Visits were made by myself and counterpart to the Kara DPS and nearest surrounding laboratories. We found that the price for services is the same throughout these laboratories. A fee schedule has been made based off of this information collected.

The implementation of a laboratory will provide more convenient and accurate diagnoses to the community. Improved confidence in their local health clinic will help to increase attendance rates that will contribute to the sustainability of the laboratory. Additionally, the promotion of the laboratory will come from trusted local Community Health Workers who will explain (in local language) to the community the benefits of the new tests in a way that they understand.

After the installation of the lab materials, the costs of running the laboratory will be paid for by the tests themselves. Community Health Workers will play a crucial role in conveying the benefits of these new tests, as community members may be skeptical in being charged more at their clinic for a test they don't necessarily understand.

Community Contributions
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