KIGALI - In efforts to reduce over-dependency on international laboratories, the government is planning to construct a new laboratory.
Speaking to The New Times, the Director General of the National Reference Laboratory, Dr Odette Mukabayire, said they have been sending samples to other countries with better equipment for analysis.
Mukabayire was attending a one-day workshop aimed at training clinical laboratory staff to strengthen their management skills to match with international standards.
“We do not have a laboratory that detects some viruses and hemorrhagic fevers. We have an agreement with a Ugandan institute that normally tests our samples but now we are trying to set up our own”, she said.
Mukabayire pointed out that they were putting in place all necessary mechanisms to modernise local laboratories.
“Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA) is training our laboratory staff to acquire adequate knowledge to handle cases.
We need to improve their background, especially in analysis, validation, management and documentation”.
The programme is implemented under the U.S based President’s Emergency Program for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) and supported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
John Patrick Mwesigye, Coordinator of Pharmaceutical Services in the Ministry of Health, noted that besides internationalising the laboratories, there was need to improve services.
Anna Murphy, a consultant with the American Society for Clinical Pathology, who are partnering with the country to implement laboratory management, disclosed that different national laboratories have tremendously improved their performance.
“In 2009, laboratories were on 47 percent accreditation but now they have all improved to over 95 percent.We need every lab attendant to be well equipped with knowledge and this is for the benefit of patients”.
Examples of laboratories that have improved include Kanombe Military Hospital, National Reference Laboratory, King Faisal hospital, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Butare and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Kigali.