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Concern over wrong lab results risks for Kenyans

By Ally Jamah | Published Tue, August 11th 2015 at 17:07, Updated August 11th 2015 at 17:14 GMT +3
Kenya Accreditation Service (CEO) Sammy Milgo (center) with Country Manager of Pathologists Lancet Kenya laboratories Dr Ruchika Kohli and Lancet Chief Strategy Officer Dr Waithira Wamwea when Kenas presented accreditation certificates to Parklands and Eastleigh braches of Lancet on Tuesday in Nairobi

NAIROBI: Concern is high that inaccurate lab results from unaccredited laboratories operating in the country are causing many Kenyans to receive wrong diagnosis and treatment in health facilities.

The Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS), the state agency mandated to accredit medical labs in the country, indicated Tuesday that inaccurate lab results often lead medical doctors to make incorrect and potentially fatal decisions in treating their patients.

KENAS CEO Sammy Milgo cited the World Health Organisation studies which indicate that 70 per cent of wrong diagnosis of diseases by doctors is traced to incorrect lab results.

"Ensuring that lab results are accurate is very important since we are talking about matters of life of death. Kenyans should ensure they get correct lab results by going to accredited laboratories only,” he said.

Milgo advised all medical laboratories in Kenya to seek accreditation for the ISO15189, the global standard that ensures that accurate and reliable results are produced.

“The accreditation ensures that all the processes, personnel and equipment that go into generation of lab results uphold international best practices in order to guarantee the accuracy and reliability of the results," he said.

He was speaking in Nairobi after awarding accreditation certificates to two branches of Pathologists Lancet Kenya, the largest private medical laboratory service provider in Kenya. The branches were Parklands and Eastleigh in Nairobi.

Milgo said that so far KENAS has accredited 16 medical laboratories in the country using the ISO15189 standard with plans on course to make the accreditation mandatory rather than voluntary as is the case now.

Lancet Kenya Country Director Dr Ruchika Kohli said they have had cases where patients referred to them had received incorrect lab results from other labs that may not have been accredited.

“If the lab results are not correct, then diagnosis and treatment of the disease cannot be correct. It is lab results which tell doctors what they are treating and how to treat it. So it is important to get it right,” she said.

Dr Kohli indicated that Pathologists Lancet has entered a multi-million shilling agreement with KENAS to accredit all its branches in Kenya. So far, four of Lancet's branches have been accredited using the ISO15189 standard, including three in Nairobi and one in Mombasa.

"We voluntarily submitted ourselves for accreditation to guarantee the accuracy of our lab results," she said.

Dr Kohli said that a lab test result that has been produced by a laboratory that is accredited using ISO15189 standard can be accepted anywhere around the world since its integrity is guaranteed.

Once KENAS aligns the activities of a medical laboratory to the ISO15189 standard, it continuously monitors it to ensure that the standards are upheld, otherwise the accreditation is revoked. In Kenya, at least 8 private medical labs and 8 public ones have been accredited by KENAS.