Published: 2021-04-27

Situation analysis of medical laboratories in primary health centres

Radhika S. Suberi


Background: This study was conducted with the objective to assess the medical laboratories attached with primary health centres (PHCs) focusing on the current needs, gaps and to understand the utilization pattern of the laboratory services. There are hardly any relevant studies that are known to have investigated the functioning of laboratories attached with PHCs based on quality of service they are providing.

Methods: This study was a cross sectional study based on observations and assessment made at 33 randomly selected medical laboratories attached with PHCs in Ahmedabad district, Gujarat. Checklist adapted from National Quality Assurance Standards (NQAS) and Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) were used as a tool for data collection.

Results: Though all the laboratories have been found to be functioning effectively based on the indicators in this study, some of the laboratories were not performing basic important tests like rapid plasma reagin (RPR) (18%) and hepatitis B surface antigen (HbSAg) (21%). None of the laboratories attached to the PHCs under study performed Widal test. There was very low utilization of urinary pregnancy test (UPT) (1.81%) in the first quarter of the year.

Conclusions: Although most of the indicators reflect satisfactory performance of the laboratories, there exists certain gaps and needs that are essential in provision of quality laboratory services in the primary level of health care. The laboratory information management system (LIMS) was the major issue in the laboratories.



Medical laboratory, Primary health centre, Public health laboratory

Full Text:



Nkengasong JN, Mesele T, Orloff S, Kebede Y, Fonjungo PN, Timperi R, et al. Critical role of developing national strategic plans as a guide to strengthen laboratory health systems in resource-poor settings. Am J Clin Pathol. 2009;131:852-7.

Jain R, Rao B. Medical diagnostic laboratories provisioning of services in India. Chrismed J Health Res. 2015;2:19-31.

Abimiku AG. Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine PEPFAR Program (AIDS Care Treatment in Nigeria). Building Laboratory Infrastructure to Support Scale-Up of HIV/AIDS Treatment, Care, and Prevention: In-Country Experience. Am J Clin Pathol. 2009;131:875-86.

Assessor’s Guidebook for Quality Assurance in Primary Health Centres (24X7). 2014. Available at: Accessed on 24 January 2021.

National Rural Health Mission. Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) for Primary Health Centres Revised Guidelines 2012. 2012.

Sriram S. Availability of infrastructure and manpower for primary health centers in a district in Andhra Pradesh, India. J Fam Med Prim Care. 2018;6(2):169-70.

Biswas D, Ojha V. Adhering to IPHS Guidelines : A study of the Health Facilities in Sheikhpura District of Bihar. Centre for Health and Social Justice. 2016.

George M. The role of basic laboratory services in strengthening primary health centres. Global Summit of National Ethics Committees: an essential tool for international dialogue and consensus-building. 2011;154:8(3).