Uganda is partnering with other African countries to improve on the standards of laboratories and have more internationally accredited labs in the continent.
This is part of the efforts to attain the 2016 United Nations HIV/ AIDS targets dubbed 90 -90 -90, that aim at having 90% of people know their HIV status, 90% those who are positive to enrol on care and treatment and 90% those on treatment to have their viral load suppressed, all to be achieved by 2020.
While closing a 3-day regional laboratory systems strengthening workshop in Bugolobi, the permanent secretary Ministry of Health Dr. Diana Atwiine said if laboratory services are not on high standards they cannot test and produce real results which could lead to wrong treatment.
“But to reach that goal of having many more internationally accredited laboratories, we cannot work alone and that is why we are bringing other countries on board,” she said
The workshop was attended by ambassadors and high commissioners and also delegates and lab technicians from 14 countries across the African continent.
Atwiine noted at the event that in Eastern and Central Africa, Uganda has the leading laboratory services and that is why every year countries send their Lab technicians to Uganda to get training.
“Doctors and Lab technicians from all 13 countries have been in our laboratories being trained because there is a lot they can learn from us. Many other countries have approached Uganda to train their lab technicians” she added
She also said that in areas where there are no laboratories to test the viral load, the Ministry put in place a system that can transport blood from all parts of the country to the central laboratory (Butabika) in Kampala, have it tested and results sent back in the shortest time possible.
She also said that Uganda entered a partnership with Liberia that will enable Liberian lab technicians be trained by Ugandan professionals to improve laboratory standards in their country.
Susan Nabada, the Commissioner National Health laboratory services when asked about the number of viral load tests that are carried out, said their target is to do 1.4 million viral load tests in a year…100000 a month.
She however added that for the last month of June they surpassed their monthly target and carried out 110000 tests.
The workshop was organized under the theme “building resilient laboratory systems in Africa to rapidly scale up viral load and EID services to reach UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets by 2020
It was attended by ambassadors and High commissioner from 14 countries including uganda, Lesotho, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Sierra Leone among others.