By Chioma Obinna
Medical laboratory services in the country, yesterday, received a boost as Centre for Human Virology and Genomics of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR, gets International Organisation, ISO 15189:2012 standards, making it first public health laboratory in Nigeria to attain such status.
The centre, with unique accreditation number M0588, has also been listed as a South African National Accreditation System, SANAS, Accredited Medical Testing Laboratory.
Announcing this at a press conference in Lagos, Director-General of NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Lawal Salako, explained that the scope of the accreditation covered molecular diagnostics, serology and clinical chemistry.
He said: “Laboratory accreditation is highly regarded both nationally and internationally as a reliable indicator of technical competence and results generated from such laboratories are comparable with those produced by any accredited laboratory in the world.
“With this system of international recognition, data from accredited laboratories are readily accepted overseas.”
Salako said with the latest addition, the centre was now prepared to collaborate with relevant institutions to conduct research and promote national health and development.
“We have expertise in the area of HIV, Hep B&C and we hope to include research on poliomyelitis, Lassa fever and other arboviruses very soon,’’ he said.
He called on the Federal Ministry of Health to recognise and designate the accredited research laboratory as the centre for HIV drug resistant testing in Nigeria to conduct HIV drug resistance surveillance as the only laboratory with such capacity.
Head of the Department, NIMR, Dr Rosemary Audu, who noted that the quest to have the centre accredited had been on for seven years, regretted that despite the importance of accreditation, it was not uncommon in Nigeria.
According to her; “none of the nation’s 5,349 medical laboratories had been able to attain such international accreditation.”