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Clinical Laboratories Hold Annual Retreat

The Clinical Laboratories at the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (MRCG at LSHTM) recently held an annual retreat on "Building the Best Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory in Sub Saharan Africa."
PhD student working in a clinical lab

The event on 4 March 2023 brought together almost 30 members of the healthcare and health research community, including laboratory technicians, researchers, and administrative staff. It aimed to share best practices as part of research excellence in West Africa and develop strategies to improve the laboratory's critical services.

The clinical laboratories comprise of three major laboratories - Biochemistry, Haematology and Clinical Microbiology. Each provide services ranging from basic to highly specialised medical laboratory investigations. All of the labs provide 24-hour services for patients on admission and emergencies at the MRCG at LSHTM clinic, one of the largest healthcare service providers in The Gambia.

Dr.  Ousman Secka, Head of Laboratory Services, delivered the keynote address. Dr Secka commended all colleagues in the Clinical Laboratories group for their consistent effort and contributions to saving lives and improving health. He provided words of inspiration and encouraged colleagues to think outside box in improving the quality of services for healthcare delivery and develop efficient cost recovery mechanisms for clinical trials and other activities.

Attendees participated in a series of interactive sessions and workshops that focused on improving laboratory processes, quality control, and patient care. The sessions were led by experts in the field including Clinical Laboratories Manager, Dr Solomon Umukoro.

During the sessions, the team members shared their experiences, challenges, and ideas for improving the laboratory's operations. They also discussed ways to leverage new technologies and emerging trends in the field to enhance their diagnostic capabilities.

Unit Director, Prof Umberto D’Alessandro delivered a goodwill message, thanking the Clinical Laboratories team for providing high quality services which have greatly contributed to scientific breakthroughs recorded in the Unit and helped patients’ outcomes.

He added that the visitors who visited the Unit from other institutions globally at various times have consistently given him reports of how very impressed they were with the quality of work and services rendered by the labs and encouraged them to maintain this excellence as a regional standard.

The Clinical Laboratories obtained the GCLP accreditation in 2010 and has maintained it since. In 2015, some of the lab’s tests were accredited and have maintained ISO15189:2012 –the highest globally recognised affirmation of quality and competence for medical laboratories.

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