Established in 1980, the Pacific Paramedical Training Centre [PPTC] is a not-for-profit incorporated organization located on the Wellington Hospital campus, New Zealand. The PPTC is a Collaborating Centre of the World Health Organization, Western Pacific Region, and its mission is to provide training in the appropriate Medical Laboratory Sciences, external quality assurance programmes and its development related assistance for the clinical laboratory and blood transfusion services. Particular emphasis being placed on the developing countries of the Pacific Region.
The teaching and development aid programmes offered by the PPTC are governed by one principle: ‘They must be appropriate, affordable and sustainable for the health care setting in which they will be used’. The emphasis is on appropriate and practical short-term training, that will ensure immediate benefit for the trainees in their work setting. In 1990 the PPTC was designated a WHO Collaborating Centre for External Quality Assurance and is now the leading provider of EQA Programmes to the Pacific Islands.
In 2006 the PPTC commenced a Distance Learning Programme in conjunction with WHO and now provides courses in the majority of the Medical Laboratory Science disciplines in addition to the teaching and training courses provided in-country and at its Centre in Wellington.
The PPTC has extensive experience working in laboratory strengthening throughout the Pacific and it is well respected by Pacific Governments for its ability to understand and work within Pacific cultures.
Through the continued support of the New Zealand Overseas Development Programme, the PPTC has been granted a new five year contract (2016 – 2020) in order to deliver it’s Pacific Laboratory Quality Accreditation Programme.
The activity design on which the five year contract is based, was formulated through a comprehensive analysis of the issues and state of laboratory services in the Pacific. As a result, it has been decided to target investment to four specific countries as being more likely to achieve sustainable, transformational development than spreading services too thinly across the region. Countries selected for specific investment include Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
This activity aligns itself with the New Zealand Aid Strategic goals to improve the health of the people in these Pacific countries as a key achievement focus area and investment priority.
This initiative will improve the health of our Pacific people and the regional health status against infectious disease outbreaks and enable early detection of chronic diseases through improved medical laboratory diagnostic services. It will improve Pacific Health through quality improvement measures established within the medical laboratory services. Such measures will ensure that the services are appropriate, affordable and sustainable to support diagnostic health services and treatment options.
This will be achieved by
- Increasing the workforce capability and capacity of Pacific laboratories.
- Strengthening the infrastructure and expanding the scope of testing within laboratory services.
This programme to be delivered by the PPTC will:
- Develop an accreditation framework for each selected Pacific Medical Laboratory, that enables it to be measured against international ISO15189 standards;
- Support laboratories in the four selected countries to continue the progress towards the development and achievement of internationally recognised accreditation standards.
This will be achieved in the following way:
- Improve laboratory capability and capacity for the detection and management of infectious diseases, their diagnosis and the monitoring risk of non-communicable diseases and associated safe management of blood transfusion products.
- Increase the quality of laboratory sensitivity testing and antibiotic advice to clinicians to ensure that the most appropriate antibiotic is used. This will contribute to international endeavours to address the rise of anti-microbial resistance.
- Increase the sustainability of laboratory services by increasing the range of tests able to be performed in-country, thus increasing the timeliness of results and reducing the reliance on expensive off-shore referral testing;
- Provide an external quality assurance programme and regional benchmarking for laboratory performance and associated risks.
- Provide foundational courses for Pacific laboratory technicians through in- country centre based training and distance learning.