The Southern African Development Community Accreditation Services (SADCAS) has awarded certificates of recognition to 6 Malawian medical laboratories for attaining high standards of operations.
This means that the laboratories can now carry out various testing, including from outside the country.
According to the Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda, the accreditation is one way of demonstrating competence to patients, national governments, implementing partners and donors.
The 6 accredited laboratories are Mwaiwathu Private Hospital, Dream Blantyre and Balaka, Malawi Liverpool Welcome Trust, Partners in Hope and National HIV Reference Laboratory.
They all met general requirements for the competence of testing as required by a regional body for accreditation SADACAS.
The accreditation comes at a time that Malawi, just like other countries, is grappling with the Corona virus pandemic.
While the country now requires continuous response to the pandemic, with the ability to test and trace contacts, labs also require necessary equipment to respond to this urgent call.
According to health experts, achieving accurate diagnosis of COVID-19 as a key component in addressing the pandemic, has been a major challenge for Malawian laboratories due to inadequate qualified lab human resource.
This is evident by a lack of laboratory personnel in testing facilities, despite having a pool of unemployed and qualified experts.
Chiponda points out that the accreditation is a win for the country as laboratories are being faced with new challenges in a wake of COVID-19.
With the rise in cases, the laboratory needs to be actively supported by qualified staff to ensure that services are not disrupted in the fight against COVID-19.
Alash‘le Abimiku a Professor from the University of Maryland, Baltimore believes that Malawi will now have improved diagnosis especially for COVID-19 following the accreditation.
“This is really a great achievement for Malawi, that for the first time they have got this number of accredited labs in the country. These labs now become a resource for the rest of the laboratories in the country,” Abimiku said.
Quality Assurance Officer for one of the accredited laboratories Malawi Liverpool Welcome Trust Joshua Kaphika has emphasized that the accreditation will help in boosting the morale of their lab technicians.
“This will bring confidence to our lab technicians because they are now aware that whatever they are doing they are doing it in the right way and they are producing quality results,” Kaphika explained.
SADCAS provides credible, cost effective, accreditation services for SADC Member States aimed at supporting trade, enhance the protection of consumers and the environment.