Test Cost and Test Accuracy in Clinical Laboratories in Kampala, Uganda

Timothy K. Amukele, Robert Jones, Ali Elbireer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: To assess the accuracy and costs of laboratory tests in Kampala, Uganda. Methods: A random selection of 78 laboratories tested external quality assurance samples at market rates. There were 40 moderate- to high-complexity and 38 low-complexity laboratories. Four percent (3/78) of these laboratories were accredited and 94% (73/78) were private. The 40 moderate- to high-complexity laboratories performed malaria blood smear, urine human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), syphilis, glucose, and three-panel tests: CBC, liver function tests, and kidney function tests. The 38 low-complexity laboratories performed malaria blood smear, urine hCG, and syphilis testing only. Hematology, HIV, syphilis, and malarial proficiency testing samples were prepared by accredited laboratories in Kampala. All other samples were provided by the Royal College of Pathologists of Australia. Results: 77.1% of all results were accurate (met target values). It varied widely by laboratory (50%-100%), test identity (malaria blood smear, 96%; serum urea nitrogen, 38%), and test type (quantitative: 66% [31%-89%], qualitative: 91% [68%-97%]). Test prices varied by up to 3,600%, and there was no correlation between test cost and accuracy (r 2 = 0.02). Conclusions: There were large differences in accuracy and price across laboratories in Kampala. Price was not associated with quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-529
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 25 2018


  • Accuracy
  • Africa
  • Cost
  • Laboratory
  • Quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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