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By Keeran DannyGuyana’s National Public Health Reference Laboratory is working towards strengthening its operations to acquire international accreditation. The aim was for the facility to be accredited last year, but several challenges were encountered.This was the assertion of Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, during an interview with this publication.The National Public Health Reference Lab is an initiative out of the PEPFAR (the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) programme. In December 2010, after more than two years of existence, the institution was certified by the Guyana National Bureau of Standards. That was the first step leading to international accreditation.Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shamdeo PersaudDr. Persaud explained that because of the US Government’s involvement in the programme, a US accrediting body was the preferred option as the certifier of Guyana’s laboratory. There is an accreditation process that involves thorough examinations of all procedures.“The accreditation process involves everything; for the qualifications they even do competence testing, disposal of waste, airflow, ask if you have spills,Wholesale Jerseys, how you manage chemicals… everything they look at. We are in the process of being accredited internationally… we are already accredited by our local Bureau of Standards. We are now looking for external accreditation,” he said.He said this period is essential to ensure the laboratory’s resources – human and equipment – meet high standards, which would eliminate doubts in persons’ minds and “take the mystery out of medicine”.Commenting on the delay of international accreditation,Cheap Basketball Jerseys, Dr. Persaud said both Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC)’s laboratory and the Reference Laboratory have been accredited locally. The international accrediting body that visited the laboratories identified certain gaps, and corrective actions such as training and quality management system are being implemented.“So we are now getting some assistance in training from Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to get some of those on board. The microbiology lab… we had some challenges,Cheap NFL Jerseys Supply, you know, how we are managing samples and so. You know all the little gaps they saw… so we can meet the certificate of accreditation,Wholesale Soccer Jerseys,” Dr. Persaud added.Even with international accreditation, the National Public Health Reference Laboratory would still have to send samples for testing to other reference labs in the Caribbean and further afield if necessary.Explaining the levels of testing done in Guyana,Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys, he said laboratories at hospitals around Guyana do testing immediately for clinical care. GPHC has the capacity to conduct advanced clinical testing and a more advanced form of testing is done at the Reference Laboratory.According to Dr. Persaud, the laboratory focused heavily on HIV. Initially it does testing for other infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis and diseases in the kidneys and lungs. However, Guyana depends on CARPHA as a higher reference laboratory to test high risk samples that require bio-safety level.“Once you start growing these germs, even the people who are operating in the laboratory are at risk of contracting them. And if they are multidrug resistance TB strains it can’t be treated. So you would want to ensure that you have the level of security in place and the skilled technical staff,NFL Jerseys Outlet, and most of these works are done by people with PhDs and higher order degrees. Our laboratory staff is pretty much trained to a level to manage the services we provide locally,” he added.Dr. Persaud related that this is not unique to Guyana, since sister CARICOM states send their samples to other reference laboratories. For instance, the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre sends its samples to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing.
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