News

July 6, 2017

Blog: Building the learning agenda on quality - Spotlight on the Global Learning Laboratory for Quality UHC

Region: Global Creating an enabling environment

This blog was authored by Nana A Mensah Abrampah with contributions from Melissa Kleine-Bingham and the WHO Global Learning Laboratory Team.

Improving the delivery of quality health services is messy! Vast amounts of knowledge and experience are generated daily. We need to help capture this knowledge and experience – both the explicit knowledge that can be easily identified, captured and transferred as well as the tacit knowledge that is often difficult to identify, capture and transfer. We cannot assume that knowledge generated at the local level will spread through the various structures at the sub-national and national level to inform national-level direction and eventually lead to global dialogue and action.

Indeed, the majority of new knowledge generated never spreads and instead stays confined to small teams with big experience.

Globally, countries are struggling to capture and learn from different approaches undertaken to improve the quality of care in diverse settings. To address this need, the World Health Organization (WHO)launched the Global Learning Laboratory (GLL) for Quality UHC to activate global learning informed by local level action.


The GLL for Quality UHC aims to:

  1. Create a space to capture and share knowledge, experiences, and ideas;
  2. Challenge those ideas and approaches; and
  3. Spark innovation for quality

The focus of the global learning laboratory is three-fold. First, national quality policies and strategies which create an enabling environment to continuously improve the delivery of health services and embed quality as a critical component of the system. Second, technical areas, which look at the interaction of quality and a specific technical area, such as water, sanitation and hygiene; infection prevention and control; and maternal and child healthamongst others. Third, compassion, which provides the driving force and heart of the move towards quality.

The work of the Global Learning Laboratory is heavily informed by what is taking place at the local level on quality. Learning from the local level is then cascaded and shared with a wider audience. Activities of the GLL include, but are not limited to: a knowledge platform, participation in international and local conferenceswebinars, and the development of knowledge products.

The platform, which seeks to create a community of like-minded individuals interested in quality, is just one of many approaches to learning. For example, knowledge generated from activities at the local level is captured by those who have taken part in the improvement activity. This new knowledge is then captured and shared on the platform as an action brief – interventions that can be easily transferred to another context; knowledge briefs – theories or concepts that ground implementation; snap-shorts – advocacy tools in specific subject areas; and change alerts, which highlight change mechanisms that everyone should know about.


The design of the GLL for Quality UHC is informed by what already exists.

landscape analysis of existing communities was developed to inform the development of the Global Learning Laboratory. This has resulted in close engagement with multiple communities and networks involved in improving the quality of care.


The GLL for Quality UHC is open to all individuals from across the world interested in improving health care quality, engaging in technical dialogue, and contributing on a periodic basis to the discussions pertaining to the three focus areas.

To learn more about the Global Learning Laboratory for Quality UHC and to register, please click here