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Malawi Celebrates ISO 15189 Accreditation of Laboratories

The University of Maryland, Baltimore through Ciheb, in conjunction with the Malawi Ministry of Health (MOH) and other partners, held an awards ceremony to celebrate the ISO 15189:2012 medical laboratory accreditation of six facilities in Malawi, four of which were supported by Ciheb. 

The accreditations, given by the Southern African Development Community Accreditation Service (SADCAS), marks the first time these international standards have been achieved in Malawi. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and MOH brought Ciheb in as an implementing partner in 2019 to strengthen the quality and capabilities of laboratories in Malawi and support them to attain international accreditation standards.

The ceremony, held in Lilongwe, observed COVID-19 protocols of social distancing and masking. It included a tour of the pavilions, remarks from dignitaries, and a presentation of the accreditation awards.

“It is the intention of the University of Maryland to be in Malawi for a lot longer,” said Professor Alashl’e Abimiku, the principal investigator for the AMPLIFY grant that provides technical assistance to increase access to quality laboratory services. “This is just the start of a wonderful partnership. In most of the African countries that we support, we’ve operated for close to 20 to 30 years because we really believe in a long and meaningful partnership.”

Multiple guests of honor were in attendance including the Minister of Health, Honorable Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, M.P.; the Secretary for Health Dr. Charles Mwansambo; U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Robert Scott; and others.

“I extend my sincere congratulations to the Ministry of Health, district health offices, hospital management teams, and the laboratory staff who have worked tirelessly under trying conditions especially when you consider COVID for this achievement,” Ambassador Scott said. “Although I and my embassy represent all 50 states in the United States, I have to admit I am myself from Maryland, so I am extremely proud it is a Maryland university that is your partner here.”

The six laboratories recognized for accreditation include:

  • National HIV Reference Laboratory
  • Partner in Hope Laboratory
  • DREAM Balaka Laboratory
  • DREAM Blantyre Laboratory
  • Mwaiwathu Private Hospital Laboratory
  • Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Laboratory

To view the awards ceremony, click on the video below.

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