A Quest to Promote Quality Laboratory Medicine in Africa

By Susan Montgomery - December 21, 2022

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Advocating for quality training in laboratory medicine and ASCP certification in Ethiopia and across Africa is near and dear to ASCP-certified histotechnologist George Yeabyo’s heart.   

“I am happy to be an Ambassador of ASCP to Africa,” says Mr. Yeabyo, HTL(ASCPi), MSc, PhD(c), adding that his efforts to promote ASCP certification in his native Ethiopia and throughout Africa have generated significant interest.  

One of the ways that he has advocated for the medical laboratory profession has been to help the ASCP Center for Global Health and ASCP Textbook Fulfillment staff coordinate a donation of 592 clinical laboratory textbooks for the medical laboratory scientist (MLS) training program at Addis Ababa University (AAU) in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa. The textbooks—donated by ASCP staff, consultants, and contacts, as well as from ASCP Press and the ASCP Textbook Fulfillment office—were made available for students to freely access at the AAU John F. Kennedy Library.  

The book donation took place following the Addis Ababa University Job and Book Fair held in May 2022. Attendees of the fair—many of whom included AAU graduates of the Class of 2022—talked about the importance of elevating the quality of laboratory medicine and training in order to enhance the overall quality of patient care. Many were amazed to learn that 60 percent to 70 percent of diseases are diagnosed using test results that come from the medical laboratory, according to Mr. Yeabyo.  

During the fair, local ASCP representatives, including Mr. Yeabyo, presented a compelling case to encourage young professionals to seek ASCP certification in order to “increase quality in the healthcare industry and overseas job opportunities,” Mr. Yeabyo says. Many of the recent university graduates asked about the process to study for the ASCP certification exams. 

Dignitaries who visited the ASCP Board of Certification booth at the Job and Book Fair included leaders from the AAU President’s Office, the Vice President for Research, Technology Transfer and Community Services of AAU, the Career Development Office, and the Armauer Hansen Research Institute.  

“The certification program is highly important to the country-to-country relationship of USA-Ethiopia,” Mr. Yeabyo says. “The government of Ethiopia will not only sustain a quality healthcare program, but also improve its diplomatic relationship with the government of the USA.” 

Mr. Yeabyo is an exemplary model of how to advocate locally for the laboratory profession, share the importance of high-quality standards established through certification programs, and seek global engagement with partners to help build capacity for stronger medical laboratory education. With the laboratory workforce shortages observed both domestically and internationally, this enthusiasm and dedication is needed more than ever. Furthermore, during the 2022 National Society for Histotechnology (NSH) Convention in Reno, Nevada, Mr. Yeabyo was recognized by the Society with one of its 2022 Professional Scholarship awards. NSH and sponsors offer only two awards for Professional Scholarship to recognize exceptional NSH members who are pursuing education and knowledge within the field of histotechnology. 

“The opportunity to offer ASCP certification is important to Ethiopia,” Mr. Yeabyo says, noting the country plans to implement continuing and professional development requirements in order for healthcare professionals to renew their licenses. To accomplish this goal, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health is seeking to share ASCP’s continuing education model and other education programs in its country. 

Ever the diplomat, Mr. Yeabyo said he looks forward to continuing to build the relationship between ASCP and AAU in order to improve the quality of training medical laboratory professionals in Ethiopia and across Africa. 

 

 

Susan Montgomery

ASCP communications writer

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