With the assistance of Global Funds, Saint Lucia is one of the six OECS countries seeking to achieve tier one certification with regards to lab services.
On Friday June 29th a consultation was held at the Ministry of Health which focused primarily on policy and legislation which will govern lab quality and standards. The consultation comprised of Ministry officials, private and public lab personnel, a team from the OECS and a legal consultant. Clinical Care Coordinator, Dr. Gail Gajadhar gave an insight into the meeting.
According to Dr.Gail Gajadhar–Clinical Care Coordinator, “The idea is to ensure that we get a national laboratory policy which as I understand is part of our quality health policy and we also want to ensure that we have standards and licensing procedures for our labs which is the ultimate aim of all of this. We have to meet ISO standards and these are international standards so the goal is to get us standardized in terms of international standards so that we provide services that are recognized and reliable no matter who comes whether it’s our own population or persons who come from the outside into Saint Lucia. ”
Meanwhile, Director of the Caribbean Med Labs Foundation, Valerie Wilson said, lab personnel are in full support of this new thrust.
“The Labs are actually excited and want to see the move forward in terms of ensuring that they are incorporating quality within their systems, both the public and private labs. I think most of the persons who work in labs really want to ensure labs are functioning at the level at which they should and these requirements are talking about are really parts of the requirement for the international standard ISO15189 which is the standard labs are accredited to. We are not saying within the policy all the labs must be accredited, what we are saying is they should meet tier one of a three tier system that leads to accreditation, so they don’t need have to reach accreditation, they can reach tier one which is some basic requirements excerpted from the standard and I think people are really excited about that, they really want to see it move forward we have been speaking about it for a while like I said the first draft of the policy was done in 2015 so I think people are anxious to see movement forward and I think the general public would really be interested in seeing movement forward because this is about ensuring quality for all those things like testing for glucose, diabetes, heart disease, cancers, HIV, Zika which the public relies on from the labs in Saint Lucia to provide them with accurate results.”