Businesses’ demand for quality certification surges

As demand for local accreditation surges in the country, the sole national agency responsible for this is attracting increasing attention and business.

The Kenya Accreditation Service (Kenas), which falls under the Ministry of Industrialisation, has seen more local organisations seek validation of the quality of their services to boost their businesses and profits.

The agency has been in operation since 2009, having evolved from being a department of the Kenya Bureau of Standards, and has accredited more than 50 local organisations in the area of its mandate.

Accreditation from the agency helps firms such as calibration laboratories, certification bodies, inspection bodies, medical laboratories, testing laboratories and proficiency testing providers enhance their market credibility and profits. The accreditation guarantees the quality and safety of their services to clients by being made to adhere to certain set standards.

Global clientele

Kenas accreditation is recognised internationally, which helps local firms attract business from a global clientele.

“Kenyans are increasingly looking for quality services that deliver value for money, and organisations that offer quality are the ones that prosper in the current competitive market. That is why demand for local accreditation is growing fast. We expect the trend to continue into the future,” said Kenas CEO Sammy Milgo.

In its latest analysis, Kenas will be accrediting all 20 branches opened by Pathologists Lancet Kenya, the largest independent medical laboratory firm in the country.

The process is expected to cost between Sh10 million and Sh15 million in accreditation fees — accreditation of each branch costs between Sh500,000 and Sh1 million — and will be carried out within the first quarter this year, with the Mombasa branch receiving its certificate last week.

Lancet Group CEO Ahmed Kalebi said his firm previously relied on the South Africa National Accreditation Systems (Sanas), but has now switched to Kenas, which offers similar quality accreditation at lower costs.

“It was more expensive to bring in external assessors from other countries to conduct the accreditation. With Kenas, which is itself internationally accredited, we can achieve that more cost effectively and guarantee the quality of our services to Kenyans.”

Lancet was the first major independent medical lab to be accredited by Kenas, which has previously accredited mainly research and hospital labs .

International standards

“We believe that the Lancet deal will attract significant new business for Kenas from the medical laboratory sector as more labs follow their example to seek accreditation for their services,” said Mr Milgo.

“As an accreditation agency, we offer Kenyans the assurance that when we grant an accreditation certificate to an organisation, the quality they offer meets international standards.”