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Leading health organizations launch new accreditation process for laboratories across Africa
Date:7/26/2009

KIGALI, Rwanda (July 27, 2009) Government health officials from 13 African countries today launched the first-ever push for accreditation of the continent's medical laboratories, starting a process that the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Government believe will be an historic step to strengthen health systems and lead to better care for patients.

Just a handful of Africa's laboratories are now accredited, in part because the existing international accreditation process is so time-consuming. Many laboratories lack equipment, proper funding, adequate training for lab workers, and systematic management of work. This new effort will operate under the guidance of the WHO Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO) and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), implemented through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS/CDC). The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) will assign dozens of volunteer American lab professionals and the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative will help implement action-oriented training programs to boost and standardize the quality of African laboratories.

WHO-AFRO has established a five-step accreditation process structured around its core standards for laboratories, which will allow labs to gradually receive credit for improvement and eventually attain accreditation. For many laboratories that employ top-notch workers, this extra help is seen as critical to reach a consistent high standard of work.

"It's time for Africa to go in this direction accreditation is the only way to be sure a laboratory is a good laboratory," said Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda's Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health. "We cannot provide high quality care no matter what type of disease we're fighting without strong laboratories. This will greatly strengthen our health systems in the short term and long term. This is all about building sustainab
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Contact: Preeti Singh
psingh@burnesscommunications.com
301-652-1558 x5722
Burness Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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