An accurate cancer diagnosis is critical to providing quality care to patients with cancer. We describe the results of a laboratory improvement process that started in 2017 to improve access to cancer diagnostics at the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI). The overall objective of the project was to build capacity for the provision of quality and timely laboratory diagnostics to support cancer care in Uganda.
A phased multistep approach was used to improve laboratory capacity, including staff training, additional staff recruitment, equipment overhaul, and optimization of the supply chain.
The program led to the establishment of a pathology laboratory that handled 5,700 tissue diagnoses in 2019. Immunohistochemistry services are now offered routinely. Turnaround time for histopathology has also reduced from an average of 7 to 14 days to 5.4 days. The main clinical laboratory has also increased both the test volume and the test capacity, with the additional establishment of a molecular diagnostics laboratory.
Our project shows a pathway to the improvement of laboratory diagnostic capacity in cancer care centers in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Improved laboratory diagnostic capacity is critical to improving cancer care in SSA and more rational use of targeted therapies.

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