Tanzanian officials gathered on June 21, 2014 to celebrate the accreditation of three laboratories that the CLSI Global Health Partnerships (GHP) program has worked with for more than six years.
The National Health Laboratory Quality Assurance and Training Centre in Dar es Salaam, the Bugando Medical Centre Laboratory in Mwanza City, and the Mbeya Referral Hospital Laboratory have been accredited by the Southern African Community Accreditation Service (SADCAS) after a year-long review process. The Muhimbili National Hospital Laboratory has been recommended for SADCAS accreditation as well. All four laboratories were mentored by CLSI staff and volunteers.
Tanzania’s Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Seif Rashid, praised the accomplishments of the laboratories and their successful partnerships with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and CLSI. Dr. Rashid noted that very few facilities have achieved accreditation in Africa. “In many African countries, a quality laboratory system is not yet in place and the implementation of laboratory-dependent disease prevention and control programs has been facing many challenges,” he said.
“This achievement is coming when Tanzania, like many other countries in Africa, is facing health emergencies including diseases of epidemic potential,” Dr. Rashid said. “The majority of these events are of infectious origin, including viral hemorrhagic fever like Dengue fever. It is the obligation of the accredited laboratories to lead the prompt early and quick detection of these diseases for better health of all Tanzanians.”
CLSI launched the GHP program in Tanzania in 2007 as part of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) laboratory strengthening initiatives. In addition to working with six national and zonal health laboratories in Tanzania to implement quality management systems, CLSI has assisted with the translation of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard 15189:2007 (Medical laboratories – Requirements for quality and competence) and CLSI document QMS01 (Quality Management System: A Model for Laboratory Services; Approved Guideline—Fourth Edition) into Kiswahili, the creation of the national health laboratory policy, the training of local mentors and assessors, and the training of local master assessor and master mentor trainers.