Malawi - Mentoring LabNet Lead trainers, conducting a broad laboratory systems assessment and mentoring the National TB Reference Laboratory and TB Laboratory Network

Title: Laboratory Network Leadership Course

Code: D22-05

Date: April 2022

Location: Ethiopia, The Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Malawi

Client: African Society for Laboratory Medicine

Type of services:

Develop a training program for National Laboratory Working Groups to optimize and strengthen the laboratory network in their countries.

Pilot the training program in two countries and provide a Training of Trainers


After the first piloting  and Training of Trainers in Zimbabwe, Phase 2 of the LabNet Lead course was provided in Malawi by four ASLM trainers, who were observed and mentored by Linda Oskam.

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Title: Broad laboratory systems assessment in Malawi

Code: D19-09

Date: April - June 2019

Location: Malawi

Client: Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Type of services:

Providing a team leader and medical laboratory specialist for a broad laboratory system assessment with focus on TB and malaria:

  • Conducting a laboratory system assessment as well as facility assessments and data analysis to provide recommendations for improving laboratory services, in particular in the public sector. 
  • Conducting a stakeholder analysis and interviews.
  • Conducting a SWOT analysis of the laboratory system.
  • Preparation of assessment agenda, methodology, inception report and final report.


[21 May 2019] In April and May, DATOS, in collaboration with KIT, has conducted a broad laboratory system assessment in Malawi for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. We looked from different angles at the laboratory system to do an in-depth analysis of the structure and functioning of the system and laboratory facilities throughout the country. Our team consisted of:

  • A laboratory systems specialist, assessing the organization, regulation and coordination of the laboratory system.
  • A medical laboratory specialist, assessing laboratory facilities (at public, private, NGO and mission hospitals) throughout the country.
  • A geographical information specialist, analyzing the distribution of laboratory testing capacity throughout the country.
  • A procurement and supply chain specialist: assessing the procurement and supply system for laboratories.
  • A public health specialist, investigating the laboratory-clinical interface.

This extensive assessment led to major and minor recommendations to guide future laboratory strengthening activities in the country.

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Title: TB laboratory systems strengthening and mentoring of a TB laboratory expert

Code: D18-07

Date: January - September 2018

Location: Malawi

Client: USAID/Challenge TB through the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation

Type of services:

Mentoring of the National TB Laboratory Expert. Four missions were conducted and distance support was provided.


[1 Feb 2018] The TB laboratory network in Malawi is extensive and well organized, but support is needed to further improve the activities and strengthen the role of the new National TB Program (NTP) Diagnostic Laboratory Expert. To this end, Linda Oskam visited Lilongwe from 8 to 19 January 2018 to work together with the NTP Diagnostic Laboratory Expert on further strengthening and improvement her skills.

[28 Mrt 2018] DATOS went back to Malawi again to continue the mentoring of Malawi’s NTP Diagnostic Laboratory Expert (NDLE).  Pamela Hepple worked with the NDLE on reviewing GLI and WHO tools, guidance documents and reports to determine how best to support the TB laboratory network. Action plans were developed to strengthen the TB microscopy network and to guide the use of GeneXpert technology alongside HIV activities. External quality assurance data was analysed, and procedures for laboratory network supervision were discussed and strengthened. Standard indicators for performance monitoring of TB culture and drug sensitivity testing were defined, and preparation for the upcoming drug resistance survey was reviewed. Pamela and the NDLE also spent a few days supporting activities in Mzuzu regional TB culture laboratory. The mission ended just in time to see the last of the preparations for World TB Day!

[8 Oct 2018] In September 2018, DATOS’ Linda Oskam worked closely together with the National TB Laboratory Expert (NTLE) of Malawi, Dr. Mirriam Nyenje. The current visit was the last one of four missions sponsored by Challenge TB that aimed at mentoring Dr. Nyenje. At the end of the mission Dr. Nyenje received a Certificate of Recognition for all the new activities she initiated and the hard work she has performed to improve the TB laboratory services in Malawi during the timeframe of the project.

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