Medical laboratory service provider Lancet Group of Labs is investing heavily in international accreditation of its facilities all over East Africa to support the health sector in the region.
Lancet’s main facility in Dar-es-salaam’s Conservation House in Tanzania becomes the latest service point of the independent lab network with regional headquarters in Nairobi to achieve international rating, the first private entity to achieve the feat in Tanzania and among the few in the region.
This brings the number of Lancet’s facilities in the region to achieve the rigorous global rating to six, with the bulk of them being in Kenya.
Accreditation to international standards often costs between Sh2.5 million to Sh4 million per facility, including direct fees as well as preparations for the exercise.
Lancet has about 40 branches in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania and offers routine and specialised laboratory diagnostic services for the doctors, clinics, hospitals, corporate, insurance and occupational health sectors.
Lancet’s East Africa Managing Director and Consultant Pathologist Dr Ahmed Kalebi said they are investing substantial resources to achieve international accreditation for all its service points in the region.
“The exercise is costly and demanding but we are determined to match international standards to better support the health sector in the region with reliable and quality diagnostic services,” he said.
He added: “Even before the accreditation, our internal quality controls are stringent guaranteeing our lab results. Accreditation gives us an independent and external validation.”
The accreditation for the Dar facility was carried out by the Southern African Development Community Accreditation Services (SADCAS), an accreditation body of the regional bloc SADC while those in Kenya were rated by the Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS) using the same international standard for medical labs (ISO15189:2012).
Labs that achieve the rigorous international ratings produce test results of guaranteed quality, reliability and safety and can be accepted anywhere in the world.
Incidences of misdiagnosis and mismanagement of patients arising from inaccurate lab results continue to negatively affect the health sector in the region.
Lancet Tanzania Country General Manager said other Lancet facility in the country is undergoing final stages of internal audit and scheduled for external audit by SADCAS later in the year, after which other laboratories including those in Arusha, Moshi, Dodoma and Zanzibar will follow suit.
Lab Manager of the accredited facility in Dar Ms. Esuvat Severe said that the international rating for the lab will not only boost the health sector in Tanzania and the region but also attract research work and collaborations locally and internationally since the lab is now on the global map.
The ISO15189:2012 rating is the highest international standard for medical laboratories meaning it guarantees that the systems, processes and infrastructure of a lab meets the global threshold.
The standards are set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).
It involves upgrading equipment, staff skills and attitudes to create the right culture for quality assurance and customer service and ensuring accountability.