By NDIMUH B. SHANCHO
Global Health Systems Solutions (GHSS) has in the last 4 years secured accreditation for five laboratories in Cameroon to ISO 15189 standards, and trained over 357 personnel on SLMTA. This has been done within the framework of Strengthening Laboratory Systems Towards Accreditation (SLMTA), instituted in 2010 to develop capacity and strengthen laboratory services, networks and systems in Cameroon and beyond.
The Regional Hospital Laboratory in Buea and the National Early Infant Diagnosis Reference Laboratory in Mutengene, South West Region of Cameroon, were the first to be accredited to ISO 15189 standards in 2016. This was followed by the Bamenda Regional Hospital Laboratory in 2017 and the Medical Analysis Laboratory of Centre Pasteur Cameroon in Yaounde last November 2019. On January 8, 2020, the Limbe Regional Hospital Laboratory was also accredited to ISO 15189, thanks to the facilitation of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Cameroon and GHSS.
This international-standards accreditation of laboratories, according to the Executive Director of Global Health Systems Solutions, Professor Patrick Njukeng, implies that the processes in laboratory testing from reception of the patient, collection of samples to testing and delivery of results, are done in respect of international standards, making the results accurate, reliable and on time to ensure urgent and effective patient care.
GHSS started strengthening laboratory systems in 2010, enrolling five pilot laboratories into the stepwise accreditation process. This included Bamenda Regional Hospital laboratory, Buea Regional Hospital Laboratory, Laquintinie Hospital Laboratory in Douala, Laboratoired’ Analyses Medicales du Centre Yaoundé and Yaoundé Central Hospital laboratory.
In 2012 seven other laboratories were enrolled in the process including the Douala General Hospital, LittoLabo in Douala, Yaoundé General Hospital, Yaoundé Gyneco-obsteric and Pediatric Hospital, University Hospital Centre, Chantal Biya International Reference Center Yaoundé and Limbe Regional Hospital laboratories. In 2013, two more laboratories were enrolled into the 3rd cohort; the National Early Infant Diagnostic Reference Laboratory and Centre Pasteur Cameroon Yaoundé.
Today, the SLMTA process is being implemented in 32 laboratories. Meanwhile, over 357 persons including master trainers and trainers have been trained on it. The trained persons in the laboratories, with the assistance of mentors have caused significant changes in the laboratories. They are also able to conduct internal audits, identify nonconformity and carryout preventive and corrective actions.
GHSS has also developed Standard Operating Procedures, which has given laboratory technicians a standard way of carrying out lab activities following international requirements. These have reduced variances in laboratory results and turnaround time for most tests, as well as improved patient satisfaction. With accurate laboratory results, patients are being given the appropriate treatment, and in a timely manner.
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GHSS obtains international accreditation for five Cameroonian labs in 4 Years
By NDIMUH B. SHANCHO
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