70 Ugandan hospital labs get international accreditation –MoH

Correct Collection of Laboratory Specimens handbook  written by Dr Hakim Sendagire. Photo/TONNY ABET

What you need to know:

  • Commenting on the book, Mr Aisu said it will improve quality of reports patients get in the laboratory. 

Figures from the National Health Laboratory and Diagnostic Services (NHLDS) indicate that up to 15 health laboratories acquired international accreditation in 2023, pushing the total number of the accredited health laboratories to 71.
Mr Steven Aisu, the senior technical advisor at the NHLDS, a department at Ministry of Health, said the accreditation means the quality of tests patients get from laboratories has greatly improved.

“NHLDS has now been able to champion quality in the laboratories and we have registered 70 labs now internationally accredited, those at the regional referral hospitals, some at the general hospitals and some at health center IVs have been internationally accredited,” he said.
“And that means that the tests that have been done in those labs are acceptable across the continent. People who are not laboratorians may sometimes come in to take the samples and this book gives guidelines on what do,” he added.

Some of the laboratories accredited in 2023 by South African National Accreditation System (SANAS), Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS) and College of American Pathologists (CAP) are those in Mengo Hospital, Kawempe National Referral Hospital, Iganga General Hospital, and Kampala Hospital. Of the 71 accredited labs, 61 are SANAS accredited, eight are CAP accredited and two are KENAS accredited, according to details from NHLDS. 

Mr Aisu spoke in an interview on Wednesday at Makerere University medical school after the launch of a book titled “Correct Collection of Laboratory Specimens” authored by Dr Hakim Sendagire, a lecturer at the University.
Dr Sendagire, a physician who specialized in laboratory medicine, said the book has essential guidelines for health workers tjhat will improve diagnosis of patients for better disease management or treatment.

“During my work in the laboratory across the country, I realized that many of the people who collect samples are actually nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers yet the instructions on how samples are collected are kept in the lab. So many people don’t know how to collect samples, when to collect them, when to process and how to transport them, up to the level of analyzing them,” the book author said.

“At all these stages, once poor quality samples are collected, then the results are usually wrong and this is dangerous.  For example in diabetes, if you collected a sample and it gave you a result that the sugar level is very high yet it is not and you give a patient insulin that they do not need, the patient will just die,” he explained.
Commenting on the book, Mr Aisu said it will improve quality of reports patients get in the laboratory. 

“The launch of this book is important for people in the lab because everybody will agree that if the sample is collected poorly, then the report will also be poor. If the sample is collected in the wrong container then you will not get the results you need. If it is collected in the right container and at the right volume then you will get the right results you need,” he said.