Well-functioning, sustainable laboratory services are crucial for clinical care and public health. Laboratories are the eyes and ears of the health system. Reliable laboratory test results form the foundation for evidence-based disease control, robust surveillance, and early and appropriate treatment of patients. It is therefore extremely important that clinical and public health laboratories provide high quality services.
Effective laboratories and laboratory networks ensure the availability of quality diagnostic services for the whole population.
... but they have long been neglected
The reality is different. Medical laboratories are suffering from decades of neglect. In many countries poor laboratory services lead to mistrust in laboratory results, which in turn leads to neglect of laboratory test results during the diagnostic decision making process. Not taking laboratory results into account may lead to misdiagnosis and/or delayed detection of outbreaks. This increases human suffering and wastes valuable resources.
Neglect of the laboratory sector leads to mistrust in laboratory results, which in turn leads to further neglect of the laboratory sector, completing the negative spiral.