Five years of hard work on the part of two Tanzanian laboratories and the CLSI staff and volunteers who mentored the laboratory employees have paid off. Both laboratories have been accredited by the Southern African Development Community Accreditation Service (SADCAS).
After a year-long process, the National Health Laboratory Quality Assurance and Training Centre in Dar es Salaam and the Bugando Medical Centre laboratory in Mwanza both received accreditation aligned to ISO 15189. Two other laboratories in Tanzania that have worked with CLSI’s Global Health Partnerships (GHP), the Mbeya Referral Hospital and Muhimbili National Hospital laboratories, also have been recommended for SADCAS accreditation.
“This process required a significant financial commitment as well as patience and persistence,” said Patrick Mateta, MT, MBA, Senior International Program Manager for GHP. Mr. Mateta has managed GHP activities in Tanzania since 2008.
CLSI launched the GHP program in Tanzania in 2007 as part of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief 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 ISO 15189 and CLSI document QMS01 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.
According to Mr. Mateta, when GHP staff began working with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Tanzania (MOHSW), the laboratories were significantly far behind in the process, and accreditation was just a dream. “It is a humbling moment that our dreams are slowly becoming a reality,” Mateta said. “This is evidence that with the right guidance, commitment, and teamwork, laboratories in any part of the world can implement quality to the level of international accreditation. Today, quality has become the buzzword in the corridors of laboratories across Tanzania. Accreditation would not have been achieved without the unwavering support CLSI has received and continues to receive from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Tanzania, laboratory leadership at MOHSW, and the staff at the two laboratories.”
Additionally, CLSI’s GHP team, led by Vice President Karen McClure, PhD, MLS (ASCP)SBB, played a pivotal role in managing and supporting the accreditation initiative for these laboratories. The following CLSI volunteers also played a vital part in mentoring and sharing their valued experience with staff at these facilities: Wilson Mtotela, MLS, MBA; Raymond Nyakuwocha, MLS, MSc; Pamela Melcher, MT (ASCP)SC, LQMC; Deirdre Astin, MS, MT(ASCP); Royce Gomo; Sheila Woodcock, ART, MBA, FCSMLS(D); Ginger Wooster, MBA, MT(ASCP); Michael A. Noble, MD, FRCP(C); Valerie Wilson, MSc, MBA; and Wendy Kitson-Piggott.
Congratulations! Hongera sana!