Lab Matters Spring 2020 - Page 22

GLOBAL HEALTH Kenya’s Centre of Excellence for Equipment Calibration, Certification and Training Receives ISO/IEC 17025 Accreditation By Edwin Ochieng, MBA, senior laboratory technical manager, Global Health; Rufus Nyaga, informatics technical manager, Global Health; Reshma Kakkar, MA, manager, Global Health; Samantha Musumeci, MPH, specialist, Global Health; and Maria Landron, DrPH, senior specialist, Global Health In 2017, Kenya’s National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) opened the Centre of Excellence for Equipment Calibration, Certification and Training (COE). The last two years have been dedicated to acquiring accreditation—no small feat for any laboratory. APHL worked closely with NPHL to undertake critical steps for overall facility improvement, metrology training and capacity development to ensure a successful accreditation application. Facility Improvement • Established calibration space for thermometers, timers and pipettes and an environmental condition monitoring system for the entire Centre. • Identified and procured required equipment and accessories to meet ISO/IEC 17025 requirements. Metrology Training • Designated the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to train NPHL staff on calibration techniques using a threestep approach: foundation training on calibration; customized training on calculation and measurement of uncertainties; and practical training and inter-comparison protocol development. • Ensured training curriculum included metrological work practices to offer valid and quality calibration results. Capacity Development After the COE’s opening, APHL collaborated with other stakeholders to conduct a baseline assessment to determine areas needing attention prior to applying for accreditation. This led to: • Trainings on ISO/IEC 17025 internal audit and risk management for all COE personnel • Development of quality management policies and standard operating procedures • Extensive review of technical and managerial documentation • Establishment of job descriptions for key positions and identifying appropriate staff • Conducting inter-laboratory comparison with KEBS on five parameters: mass, volume, time, temperature and rotation speed. Achieving Accreditation APHL facilitated COE enrollment with the Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS) for accreditation on all five parameters. KENAS conducted an accreditation assessment in October 2019 and recommended the COE for accreditation. As a penultimate step, the COE addressed all non-conformities identified and, in February 2020, the COE received KENAS ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation status. In order to maintain accreditation, the COE will establish a program of refresher trainings, conduct periodic management review meetings, perform internal audits and participate in inter-laboratory comparison assessments. APHL looks forward to working with the COE to maintain this critical accreditation. n NPHL Biomedical Engineers Nicholas Muturi and Calvin Simba calibrate pipettes. Photo: NPHL 20 LAB MATTERS Spring 2020 PublicHealthLabs @APHL APHL.org