Medical labs in Nam still unaccredited

27 Sep 2015 13:20pm
WINDHOEK, 27 SEP (NAMPA) - Over 70 medical testing laboratories in Namibia are still unaccredited by either the South African Development Community Accreditation Service (SADCAS), or the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS).
The two accreditation bodies are mainly responsible for conformity assessments, testing, verification, certifying and inspection of these bodies.
The issue of accreditation of medical laboratories were in the spotlight during the Third Annual Medical Laboratory Seminar hosted by the Namibia Association of Medical Laboratory Sciences (NAMLS) here on Saturday.
NAMLS is the national association representing medical laboratories as the voice of all medical professionals through advocating the value and role of the profession to ensure effective health care.
NAMLS president Dr Chris Hikuam explained that the reason medical laboratories were not applying for accreditation, some of which have been in existence for a number of years, was because there was a lack of motivation due to the high accreditation costs involved.
He said when medical labs look at the cost of accreditation they see no point in paying the high fees to be accredited.
Currently, the annual accreditation fee for a medical laboratory is approximately N.dollars 32 792 (US.dollars 2 357), which includes assessment fees, application costs and site surveillance assessments.
“As an association, we are looking at what incentives we can give laboratories to encourage them to get accredited,” he said.
Hikuam stressed that the importance of attaining accreditation was to ensure quality in the services rendered by the laboratories.
He added that this does not imply that unaccredited medical laboratories in Namibia do not offer quality services; and the issue rather is that there is no way to tell whether they are rendering services of value because they have not been assessed.
This also means that they can set their prices and tariffs as they wish, which does not create a competitive advantage for other laboratories.
Currently, no Namibian medical laboratory is accredited by SADCAS, however the Namibian Institute of Pathology (NIP) and six Pathcare laboratories around the country are accredited by SANAS.