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Only two out of 6,000 Nigerian labs meet international standard

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A senior lecturer with Department of Medical Laboratory, University of Lagos College of Medicine (ULCM), Dr. Francisca Nwaokorie has disclosed that only two out of 6,000 registered laboratories in the country meets international accreditation.

Speaking at a workshop organized by the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Chapter of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientist of Nigeria (AMLSN), she said, as compared to South Africa which has about 85 per cent of its laboratories internationally accredited, Nigeria has just two five- star laboratories recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to her, these laboratories are the Tuberculosis (TB) and Human Virology laboratories in NIMR, which has gone through the WHO Afro process for 18 months and are now qualified to go for International Standard Organization accreditation (ISO) to get the Medical Laboratory ISO 15189.

She noted that South Africa has the highest number of certified accredited laboratories because they started on time by designing proposals for long term achievements.

Nwaokorie explained that hither to 2010, the ISO, which is an international accreditation for attaining quality at the highest peak, was not available in Africa because of its stringent requirement, conditions, and high cost.

But WHO, she said has put in place WHO AFRO Strengthening Laboratory Management Toward Accreditation (SLMTA) programme to make conditions much easier for African countries.

The WHO AFRO SLMTA is a scheme meant to provide an alternative pathway towards the realization of international standards required for the ISO 15189 accreditation.

Nwaokorie, who was the keynote speaker, regretted that though there are donor agencies that support laboratories in Nigeria through this process, but unfortunately they are external sponsors, ”for instance NIMR was sponsored by The International Association of National Public Health Institutes, (IANPHI).

“Why do we wait for someone to come from outside to give us money to attain quality, that means we do not know what quality is our selves,” she lamented.


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