Today on behalf of the Ministry of Health and the Government of Uganda, I take this opportunity to welcome you all to this press conference, organized to update you on Uganda’s recent achievements in the National Laboratory Diagnostics and Surveillance services.
As you may all know, laboratory services are the gateway to quality health care, due to their very important role in confirming patient diagnosis and hence guide treatment. Laboratory services help in identification of disease outbreaks and hence enable timely control measures.
Laboratories are also instrumental in disease surveillance as they help estimate the burden of disease. Despite their pivotal role in quality health services and disease surveillance, laboratory services have for long been neglected in most developing countries. It was against this background that the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) was formed.
ASLM is a pan-African professional body whose major objective is to promote the strengthening of laboratory services on the African Continent. It works to advance laboratory medicine practices, science and networks in Africa. It collaborates with Governments and other relevant partners to advocate for the critical needs of laboratory services, development of national laboratory associations, and implementation of the policies of the World Health Organization (WHO) and national health agencies that provide the basis for quality laboratory services.
This press briefing is held on the background that the Makerere University–Johns Hopkins University Core Laboratory (MU-JHU) located at the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) in the Mulago Hospital complex was recognized and awarded WINNER of the BEST PRACTICE IN LABORATORY MEDICINE by The African Society of Laboratory Medicine (ASLM).
The best practice for which MU-JHU/IDI laboratory received the WINNER award was titled – World Class monitoring and appraisal of quality indicators.
This means that the system developed and continuously used by the MU-JHU/IDI laboratory to identify benchmarks for monitoring the expectations of patients, clinicians, researchers, as well as the effectiveness and efficiency of internal processes; was found to demonstrate greater quality improvement outcomes in comparison to the best known international standards for the same.
These awards reflect government and partner commitment and efforts to strengthening laboratory services to assume their central place in health care delivery. You should remember that in 2012, Uganda’s Central Public Health Laboratories (CPHL) EID laboratory, MU-JHU/IDI laboratory and the TB laboratory won all the 3 wards that were given in that category. In 2014, Uganda’s CPHL Sample Transport System and UVRI Haemorrhagic Fever Laboratory won 2 of the 3 awards given in the Best Practice category. In 2016, Uganda’s (CPHL) Viral Load Laboratory and MU-JHU/IDI laboratory won 2 of the 3 awards that were given in the best practice category.
Relatedly, in 2016, Uganda was selected to have the best national viral load strategy and the most efficient viral load laboratory. Uganda’s viral load strategy has seen the country scale up viral load nationally in less than 2 years. Among countries that started implementing viral load monitoring at the same time with Uganda, most of them have not even reached half of national coverage. All the targets that were set for Uganda by development partners were always surpassed and some times by more than double.
The awards signify a great achievement by the Uganda’s Ministry of Health on the African continent, especially given that the selection process was highly competitive.
I take this opportunity to congratulate the winners, and the partners that support them, for this great achievement. Thank you for a job well done, and for lifting Uganda’s flag high on the African continent.
In the same vein, Uganda’s public sector Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) and Viral Load (VL) laboratories were last month (December 2016) assessed and recommended for international accreditation by the South Africa National Accreditation System (SANAS). SANAS is the most meticulous accreditation body on the African continent. For these 2 public sector laboratories to attain international accreditation, the quality system landscape for Uganda’s laboratories is steadily changing.
Having attained international accreditation, these 2 laboratories now match any standard laboratory world over. Results coming out of these 2 laboratories are now ranked the same as those coming from any standard laboratories in America or Europe.
I wish to inform you that the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health and its partners has undertaken a number of notable interventions towards laboratory service improvement.
I now take this opportunity to hand over the awards to
Makerere University–Johns Hopkins University Core Laboratory (MU-JHU), winner of the World Class monitoring and appraisal of quality indicators award.
I thank you all
For God and My Country
Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng
Minister of Health