CDC supports Nigeria in attaining its first internationally accredited public health laboratory
CDC Nigeria representative, Mr. McPaul Okoye (first from the left), and other dignitaries posed for a photograph with the accreditation certificate after the presentation to CHVG, NIMR, Lagos, Nigeria.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has supported the government of Nigeria in achieving its first internationally accredited public health laboratory. 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 accreditation was received, SANAS 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 then recognized with the SANAS unique accreditation number M0588. This achievement has put Nigeria on the map of countries with internationally accreditated laboratories.
The journey to this accreditation began in 2006 when the CHVG began implementation of a Quality Management System (QMS) with the aim of improving laboratory services in Nigeria. By 2008 CHVG had conformed to the requirements for ISO 9001:2008, making it the first laboratory in Nigeria to complete them, and the first research and diagnostic laboratory to be 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. Previously, results were not validated due to a lack of a standard system which regularly measures and monitors laboratory practices for quality management in the public health facilities.
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 from more than 344 PEPFAR-supported laboratories working in HIV/AIDS and TB in Nigeria at that time. 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 that were noted, the laboratory received an award of ISO 15189:2012, accreditation dated August 25, 2017. The accreditation made 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.
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 U.S.
CDC, the country now has several locally accredited laboratories, and with this SANAS accreditation, the country now also has an internationally accredited laboratory. This means that the CHVG of the NIMR is capable of generating technically valid results, which improve health outcomes and increase ratings nationally and internationally. The accreditation will also minimize quality costs which include failure, appraisal, and remedial costs.
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, 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 CHVG on behalf of SANAS by the South African Consul General in Lagos, Mr. Darkey E. Africa. The Director-General of the NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Salako received the certificate on behalf of the CHVG.
(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 CHVG and the CDC Nigeria Laboratory Branch Chief, Mr. McPaul Okoye, posed for a photograph with the SANAS accreditation certificate.