TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT
IN RAISING THE SERVICE QUALITY OF
PUBLIC HEALTH LABORATORIES
A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Derby for the degree of
Master of Science in Health Services Management.
By Gabriele Mallapaty
The role of total quality management in raising the service quality of public health laboratories in developing countries
In 1998, the World Health Organisation (WHO) renewed its appeal to support the
Health for All strategy in less developed countries. This underlines the realisation, that two decades after the Alma-Ata declaration, the implementation of Primary Health Care strategies has come far short of the set targets. While physical health infrastructure has expanded in the past 20 years, actual provision of care has been limited and certain public health services are not available to large segments of the world’s population.
Today, we find that public health laboratory services are deficient and poorly managed in many of the developing countries. In a recent Delphi study, WHO has identified public health laboratory services as an essential public health function, vital for maintaining and improving health. Diagnostic laboratory services are particularly important in developing countries, where according to WHO’s estimates, 43% of total deaths are still claimed by infectious and parasitic diseases.
New and innovative approaches to health care management are needed to achieve the goal of Health for All in the 21st Century. The public sector in industrialised countries has recognised this need and has successfully applied modern management tools such as
Total Quality Management (TQM) to continuously improve quality of its health services. This thesis presents the TQM concept as a feasible framework to support implementation of the Health for All strategy in less developed countries.
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