Lab scientists push for national standardization in laboratory services

Medical laboratory scientists are calling for implementation of a national laboratory policy to ensure standardization in laboratory services in all health facilities across the country. According to the Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists, Ghana currently lacks standardization in laboratory services; something it said resulted in the case where two units of tested blood from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital allegedly proved positive for HIV and syphilis in a re-test at a private laboratory. The Kean Medical Center stoked controversy weeks ago when it claimed some two units of blood from KATH to be transfused to a patient, tested positive for HIV and Syphilis at their laboratory.

However, a preliminary test of the same units of blood at the KATH in the presence of the police and officials of the National AIDS Control Programme among others, tested negative. A communiqué issued on the matter Wednesday by the Ashanti Regional branch of the GAMLS observed the country lacks a national policy to streamline the standards for the purchase, control and use of lab equip,emt and consumables in all health facilities is lacking. The group said a 2004 draft National Health Laboratory Policy was reviewed in 2013 by the Health Ministry with support from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention but the policy has not yet been implemented. “We wish to call on the Health Ministry to as a matter of urgency launch and implement the National Health Laboratory Policy in the interest of the health of Ghanaians,” the Association appealed. It said if the policy had been implemented, the issue of the KATH blood re-testing positive of HIV and syphilis at a private laboratyr would have been averted. Also, the Association said the Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) with objects of protecting the general public through the regulation of the training and practice of Medical Laboratory Professionals in Ghana has had no board to steer its affairs since 2016. “The council is poorly staffed with only an acting Registrar to navigate its affairs. The resultant effect of this has led to the practicing of non-licensed health professionals and quackery in the Laboratory delivery cascade” it said. Again, the Association said the National Blood Policy of 2006 lacks detailed technical laboratory testing algorithms of international standards for blood safety in Ghana. Unfortunately, it said the guidelines for licencing blood facilities and blood products, 2015 (FDA/SMC/BPU/GL-BFL/2015/06) has not been enforced, something it said “has resulted in the proliferation of unlicensed blood banking facilities”. It is thus urging the Food and Drugs Authority to enforce this policy and liaise with the GAMLS. The GAMLS wants the Health Facilities Regulatory Agency to step-up its assessment and monitoring of health institutions to ensure compliance for the good of all Ghanaians. It assured Ghanaians that it will not relent on its oars to ensuring that everyone receives the necessary medical laboratory services that meet international standards for the health of all.
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