Government plans to build six new laboratories
Posted Monday, January 28 2013 at 02:00
The facilities to be constructed across the country, is aimed at limiting cross-border infections.
The government is planning to construct and remodel six satellite laboratories to support surveillance and early detection of cross-border diseases among East African countries.
The laboratories will be constructed using a $78 million World Bank loan. Dubbed the East African Public Health Laboratory Networking Project. The loan is aimed at establishing a network of efficient, high quality, accessible laboratories and surveillance of tuberculosis and other communicable disease.
Addressing a press conference in Kampala at the weekend, the project coordinator, Dr Alex Opio, said the five-year project was intended to strengthen the laboratory network in the region.
“The project is being implemented in four countries; Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania in collaboration between the East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community Secretariat,” Dr Opio said.
He added that the laboratories would be built in referral hospitals in Arua, Lacor (Gulu), Mbarara and Mbale districts while others will be established at Mulago Hospital and at the National Tuberculosis Laboratory at Butabika Hospital.
The beneficiary laboratories were selected basing on their locality, primarily on border areas, large vulnerable populations including immigrants, those in high-risk disease outbreak areas and those in areas predominant with indigenous populations.
The project was conceived after realising that laboratory services in the region faced numerous challenges, including shortage of functioning essential equipment, limited technical experts and personnel, lack of quality assurance systems and shortage of supplies.
The spokesperson in the Ministry of Health, Ms Rukia Nakamatte, said the laboratories would be stocked with the necessary equipment to enable them operate better as well as train and mentor officers in different diagnosis.
Ms Nakamatte said by the end of the project, 31 laboratories would have been remodeled and equipped.