Laboratory medicine in Palestine
Abu Seir, Rania
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Background Laboratory Medicine (LM) is one of the cornerstones of healthcare. In Palestine, 3.5% of health expenditure is allocated to clinical laboratories. Methodology The Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) started to invest in the development and expansion of laboratory services including the introduction of full automation in blood banks and histopathology, molecular testing in microbiology, and testing for autoimmune diseases and metabolic disorders. Improvements have not been limited to new tests but also included external quality assurance (EQA) and accreditation programs. Results Latest investments have cut the costs of purchasing tests from outside MOH by more than 3.6 million dollars during the last five years. Al-Quds University established a Center for External Quality Control in LM which was supported by the Palestinian MOH and the National Metrology Institute of Germany. This has led to a significant improvement in the performance of the affiliated laboratories. An accreditation unit was established within the MOH, yet the number of laboratories that have been accredited with ISO-15189 are still limited but significantly increasing. The academic institutions have been working in parallel to the MOH in improving LM in Palestine. A new academic curriculum for LM has been developed according to the quality standards of curricula-based competencies determined by the needs of the labor market and the emerging technologies. Conclusions Despite the invested efforts, still, the Palestinian LM suffers from shortage of human resources which are qualified in the new emerging diagnostic approaches.