Monday, January 21, 2013


By Colin Wood

PATHOLOGY services in East Timor have been given a major boost thanks to the implementation of a new, automated laboratory information system, replacing hand written diagnostic results in the country’s National Laboratory and National Hospital in Dili.
A key component of St John of God Health Care’s Pathology Development Program, operated in partnership with the Timorese Ministry of Health, the LabTRAK system went live in November and has brought immediate improvements for medical staff at the Hospital Nacional Guido Valadares (HNGV).
A team of six Pathology caregivers from Victoria and Western Australia were travelled to Dili for up to six weeks to support the organisation’s two Timor-based scientists. During their time in Dili their role was to ensure the system went live with minimal disruption and also provide training for Timorese pathology scientists.
Dili-based scientist, Nick Hayes, said: “The Pathology Development Program has achieved a monumental goal as it continues to work with the laboratory staff of East Timor in making permanent improvements to the provision of pathology services across the country.

“The Timorese lab staff we work with have also achieved a greater level of proficiency – the LabTRAK system was a foreign idea to them, having previously relied on pen and paper for recording diagnostic results, but they have adapted to the new system very quickly and we are now able to develop its use as an educational tool in the future.”
LabTRAK will help improve the quality of results due to the reduction in manual programming and transcription. Timorese pathology workers have also responded with greater enthusiasm for laboratory processing tasks.
Building the capacity of Timorese operators through skill development and mentoring will have a lasting impact on improving health outcomes in one of Asia’s least developed nations.
“The next step is to assist our Timorese colleagues, progressing from producing quality results to also understanding what the results mean and the direct effect the laboratory can have on improving patient outcomes by providing an efficient, effective and safe service,” Nick said.
St John of God Health Care first committed to establishing the Pathology Development Program in East Timor in 2004. Since then numerous caregivers from Victoria and Western Australia have supported the efforts of scientists living in the country on a permanent basis.
The organisation committed to a second phase of the PDP in 2011 which will further develop pathology capabilities, focussing on training Timorese scientists in scientific and pathological understanding to ensure sustainable long-term improvements in diagnosis of diseases for the whole population.

Photos courtesy of St John of God Health Care


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