By DonaJayne Potts - November 1, 2017

Philippines native working through Adventist Health International to improve lab quality

The Clinical Laboratory at Haiti Adventist Hospital (HAH) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, has seen an increase in patient volume and lab result accuracy over the past year, thanks to a recent laboratory renovation, a passionate missionary lab manager and a supportive Loma Linda University Health mentor.

Since the laboratory changes have been implemented, more locals are choosing to use Haiti Adventist Hospital’s on-site clinical lab services rather than sending samples to other testing facilities. “We are restoring the community’s faith in our testing by delivering accurate results,” said Jonrey Avellano, RMT, clinical lab manager. 

Subsequent to his arrival in 2016, the hospital has seen an 800 percent increase in patients requesting lab work. Today, the facility receives an average of 40 patients per day in the lab, up from roughly five patients per day a year ago, Avellano said.

Hospital leaders are aiming to keep lab services on-site because outsourcing lab services means less money for the hospital, longer turnaround times for lab results and loss of control over lab services.

Jonrey Avellano, a native of the Philippines and recent graduate of the Adventist University of the Philippines, was selected by Adventist Health International (AHI) to serve as clinical lab manager for a term of one year. In August of 2016, he arrived at the 65-bed facility, located in a city still recovering from a devastating 2010 earthquake, and was tasked with setting up a new lab management system to produce more consistent patient lab results.

Jonrey Avellano, RMT, clinical laboratory manager, Hospital Adventiste d'Haiti

Producing accurate and precise test results in a developing country’s clinical laboratory can be a challenge. Reliable lab testing requires the availability of laboratory equipment, reagents and standardization methods that may be difficult to implement for many resource-limited countries, like Haiti.

Ben Siapco, MS, volunteer clinical laboratory consultant for AHI, mentor and former clinical laboratory scientist at Loma Linda University Medical Center, said Avellano’s work has strengthened the quality control, he has implemented training protocols and has built significant relationships within the community.

“Jonrey’s dedication to the hospital and successful management of the clinical lab has had a direct impact on the increased numbers in patient labs,” Siapco said. “He has created a quality management system that can be easily maintained with skillful staff.”

Siapco said lab results can typically influence 40 percent to 80 percent of a physician’s diagnostic decision making. 

“It’s crucial for laboratory testing to be exact because both physicians and patients rely on us to help guide the recommendations for patient treatment,” he said.

Ben Siapco, MS, right, trains Jonrey Avellano, left, at the LLUMC Clinical Lab during his first visit to the United States this past July.

Avellano has committed to serve an additional year in Haiti with the Adventist Health International in order to train a local clinical lab manager to run the department upon his departure in autumn of 2018.

“I am eager for the Haiti Adventist Hospital Clinical Laboratory to become a self-sustaining department and hope the number of patients helped by our services continues to grow,” Avellano said.

Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti is a member of Adventist Health International, a multinational, non-profit corporation with its headquarters located at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California. AHI has been established to provide coordination, consultation, management and technical assistance to hospitals and health care services operated by the Seventh-day Adventist church, particularly in developing countries.