Nigeria gets first internationally accredited public medical laboratory
The Research Laboratory of Center for Human and Genomics (CHVG) in the Microbiology Department of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) has been adjudged to conform to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 15189:2012 standards, making it the first public medical laboratory in Nigeria to attain this status.
Laboratory Director, Rosemary Audu, who is also the Head of Department, Microbiology Department who revealed this today at a press briefing in NIMR said this Center with unique accreditation number as M0588, has been listed as a South Africa National Accreditation System (SANAS) Accredited Medical Testing Laboratory. The scope of the accreditation according to her covers, Molecular Diagnostics, Serology, and Clinical Chemistry.
“Generally, laboratories produce test results used in clinical and public health setting to improve health outcomes. This depends on the accuracy of the testing and reporting, however, these services have been bedeviled with numerous challenges resulting in unreliable results, lack of confidence and under-utilization of many of many laboratory services,” Dr Audu said.
She added that some of the benefits of SANAS international accreditation includes the demonstration that NIMR CHVG is capable of generating technically valid results which improves their rating; minimizes quality costs which comprises of failure, appraisal and remedial cost and NIMR as a research institute has also gained more recognition among others.
She regretted that accreditation of medical laboratories in Nigeria is uncommon, and until now none of the nation’s 5,349 medical laboratories in Nigeria had been able to attain such international accreditation. According to Dr Audu, in August 2016, the CHVG with the support of APIN and CDC, Nigeria applied to SANAS for accreditation. By February 2017, the assessment was conducted and the seven non-conformities raised were cleared in August 2017.
“In the same month, we received the Approval Committee notification of an award of ISO 15189:2012 accreditation with effect from 25th August 2017,” she explained.
Director General/Chief Executive Officer NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Lawal Saloko, in his speech said the laboratory accreditation is highly regarded both nationally and internationally as a reliable indicator of technical competence. “Therefore, results generated from such laboratories are comparable with those produced by any accredited laboratory in the world. With this system of international recognition, data from accredited data from accredited laboratories are readily accepted overseas,” he said.
While appreciating SANAS for the confidence reposed in them to carry the enormous responsibility Prof. Saloko expressed profound gratitude to the south African Concular General who presented the certificate to NIMR. He however urged the Honorable Minister of Health Prof Isaac Folorunso Adewole to recognize and designate the accredited research laboratory as the Centre for HIV drug resistance testing in Nigeria to conduct HIV drug resistance surveillance as they are the only laboratory that has this capacity for now.