CDC supports Nigeria to attain first internationally accredited public health laboratory

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CDC supports Nigeria to attain first internationally accredited public health laboratory

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has supported the Government of Nigeria to have its very first internationally accredited public health laboratory in the country. The feat occurred with the recent accreditation of the laboratory of the Center for Human Virology and Genomics (CHVG) of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), by SANAS- the South African National Accreditation System. Before this, SANAS had conducted a detailed assessment of the CHVG-laboratory and adjudged its procedures for all the accredited laboratory tests and the laboratory management practices to be compliant with the ISO 15189 standards. The CHVG laboratory in NIMR was thus recognized with the SANAS unique accreditation number M0588. This achievement has put Nigeria on the map of countries with internationally accredited laboratories.

One of the Laboratories in the  Center for Human Virology and Genomics, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR with its SANAS seal and unique accreditation number.

One of the Laboratories in the  Center for Human Virology and Genomics, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR with its SANAS seal and unique accreditation number.

The journey to this accreditation began in 2006 when the CHVG began implementation of Quality Management System (QMS), with the aim of improving laboratory services in Nigeria. By 2008 the center had conformed to the requirements for ISO 9001:2008, making it the first laboratory to attain such feat in Nigeria; and the first research and diagnostic laboratory to be so certified.

To improve the health outcomes of Nigerians, CDC Nigeria is supporting the development of systems that would ensure the consistent use of accurate and reliable testing and reporting from medical laboratories; for clinical and public health decision making in the country. Hitherto results could not be given full assurance, for lack of a standard system which regularly measures and monitors laboratory practice for quality management in the public health facilities.

A team of scientist at the Center for Human Virology and Genomics, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR, working in one of the recently SANAS accredited laboratories

A team of scientist at the Center for Human Virology and Genomics, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR, working in one of the recently SANAS accredited laboratories

With the launch of the Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA) process, CDC Nigeria, through the PEPFAR program, enrolled CHVG in 2010, to join 23 other laboratories out of the more than 344 PEPFAR supported laboratories working in the areas of  HIV/AIDS and TB in Nigeria, then. The SLMTA program greatly enhanced the quality of laboratory systems to such an extent that the CHVG achieved a 4-star rating in the quality ladder and was supported to enroll for SANAS accreditation in 2016. After due assessments and clearances of seven non-conformities raised, the laboratory received an award of ISO 15189:2012, accreditation; dated August 25, 2017. The accreditation makes CHVG the first public medical laboratory to have such international recognition in Nigeria.

The scope of the accreditation covers molecular diagnostics such as HIV-1 Drug Resistance Testing, HIV-1 Early Infant Diagnostic, HIV, HB and HC viral loads. It also covers serology such as HIV ELISA, Hepatitis B surface antigen, and Hepatitis C antibody ELISA.  The accreditation also covers clinical chemistry tests such as Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT), cholesterol (Total) creatinine, glucose, and urea.

A cross-section of members of staff (in traditional attire) of the Center for Human Virology and Genomics of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR, Lagos with CDC Nigeria representative, Mr. McPaul Okoye after the presentation of the accreditation certificate

A cross-section of members of staff (in traditional attire) of the Center for Human Virology and Genomics of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR, Lagos with CDC Nigeria representative, Mr. McPaul Okoye after the presentation of the accreditation certificate

Despite its importance, accreditation of medical laboratories was uncommon in the country before CDC Nigeria’s interventions, and none of the nation’s 5,349 medical laboratories in the public sector had been able to attain any form of local or international accreditation from a recognized accreditation Institution, until recently. Thanks to the support of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the country now has few locally accredited laboratories, and with this SANAS accreditation, the country now has internationally accredited laboratory as well. The international accreditation means that the Center for Human Virology and Genomics of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research is capable of generating technically valid results which improve health outcomes and increase rating nationally and internationally. The accreditation will also minimize quality costs which comprise of failure, appraisal, and remedial costs.

(From Left) The Director of Laboratory Services, APIN, a CDC Nigeria supported partner, Dr. Jay Osi Daniels, with Dr. Rosemary Audu, the Laboratory Director of the Center for Human Virology and Genomics and the CDC Nigeria Laboratory Branch Chief, Mr. McPaul Okoye, posed for a photograph with the SANAS accreditation certificate.

(From Left) The Director of Laboratory Services, APIN, a CDC Nigeria supported partner, Dr. Jay Osi Samuels, with Dr. Rosemary Audu, the Laboratory Director of the Center for Human Virology and Genomics and the CDC Nigeria Laboratory Branch Chief, Mr. McPaul Okoye, posed for a photograph with the SANAS accreditation certificate.

In a special ceremony to present the certificate of accreditation, held on October 11, 2017; at the NIMR Conference Hall, in Lagos; the representative of CDC Nigeria, Mr. McPaul Okoye, who is the CDC Nigeria Laboratory Branch Chief, reiterated the continued support of CDC to the CHVG. He also charged the management of NIMR to strive to sustain and improve on the set standards for the benefit of Nigeria and its teeming population.

One of the major highlights of the occasion was the actual presentation and handing over of the Certificate of accreditation to the Center on behalf of SANAS, by the South African Consul General in Lagos, Mr. Darkey E. Africa. The Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Prof. Babatunde Salako received the certificate, on behalf of the Center for Human Virology and Genomics.

Formal handing over of the Certificate of accreditation to the Center on behalf of SANAS, by the South African Consul General in Lagos, Mr. Darkey E. Africa, to the Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Prof. Babatunde Salako.

Formal handing over of the Certificate of accreditation to the Center on behalf of SANAS, by the South African Consul General in Lagos, Mr. Darkey E. Africa, to the Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Prof. Babatunde Salako.

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