Medical: Lancet Kenya - Standards Of Excellence in Pathology
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Chairman, Dr Hariparsad believes that all people are entitled to globally acceptable medical facilities. “We are a socially responsible medical facility and conscious of the need to extend first world medical facilities to the African continent, by offering our world class pathology services to other African countries,” says Dr Hariparsad.
Lancet Laboratories reached out to Kenya in 2008 when an agreement was signed to establish a pathology laboratory in Nairobi. The new facility will be in the capable hands of Dr Ahmed Kalebi, a Kenyan specialist pathologist, who trained in South Africa and wished to return to his homeland to develop pathology services. Dr Ahmed says that he has always regarded Lancet Laboratories as the epitome of excellence in laboratory services in Southern Africa. “They have served as a referral laboratory for many East and West African countries and pathologists and clinicians from a number of private and public establishments in Kenya send referral specimens to Lancet Laboratories in Johannesburg,” continues Dr Ahmed. “From my perspective, it is a natural progression for Lancet to bring pathology services closer to Kenyans and to improve accessibility, availability, affordability, turn-around-time and quality of testing.”
“Having studied pathology both in Kenya and South Africa, where I achieved my Masters of Medicine (MMed) and Fellowship of the College of Pathologists (FCPath) respectively, I saw the disparity in laboratory and healthcare services between the two countries, and I have no doubt that Kenya had a definite need for better laboratory services,” elaborates Ahmed and adds that good laboratory services are the foundation of evidenced-based medical practice and essential for improvement of health industry standards.
He believes that Lancet Laboratories will bring world-class quality and improved cost-effectiveness to pathology testing in Kenya where there is a distinct upward trend of doctors graduating and specialists qualifying in various disciplines. These medical experts are determined to render services on a par with those provided by other countries.
Lancet Kenya will be headquartered in a new building in Upper Hill, the hub of medical services in Nairobi, in close proximity to the Kenyatta National Hospital, medical training facilities and medical centers and will provide advanced infrastructure for specimen collection and delivery results. Dr Ahmed says the laboratory has already recruited 25 local people as technologists, phlebotomists and administrative staff. “Technical and key administrative employees have undergone further training and exposure to Lancet’s stringent standards of excellence at Lancet Laboratories South Africa,” enumerates Dr Ahmed and adds that some of the current administrative employees hold either college diplomas or degrees and are starting their working careers at Lancet. He says that it is difficult to predict future staff requirements as it is such a new facility but adds that, with Lancet’s standing as a world class pathology facility, he is convinced that there will be no shortage of dynamic applicants as the laboratory grows and develops.
“We will augment our technical staff by working with local consulting pathologists, particularly those who hold internationally recognised specialist training in various pathology fields and most of whom are employed in various local academic and research institutions,” continues Dr Ahmed.
According to Dr Ahmed, affordability and accessibility were amongst the main objectives for setting up pathology testing in Kenya. It is estimated that some of the tests that are currently dispatched to South Africa and elsewhere, will be available at a fraction of the previous cost and the laboratory is easily accessible to allow communication with local pathologists and other specialists. Major investment has gone into developing excellent transport and communication infrastructures, including internet and fax facilities, in order to deliver results faster and more efficiently. It is Dr Ahmed’s belief that Lancet Kenya, will be unique among private independent laboratories in the country and that it is unlikely to be superseded by other laboratories in terms of cost, quality and accessibility.
The facility will operate in accordance with Lancet Laboratories standards for compliance with SANAS accreditation and will have state-of-the-art equipment and cutting edge technology appropriate to Lancet’s extremely demanding standards of excellence. The laboratory is proudly Kenyan but is firmly linked to Lancet Laboratories, headquartered in Johannesburg South Africa. As the major investor in this venture, Lancet Laboratories South Africa will provide full technical and logistical support and has also invested in fibreoptic links between Nairobi and Johannesburg to facilitate high-speed connectivity and real time communication.
Dr Ahmed is confident that Lancet Kenya will rapidly establish a reputation for excellence among the Kenyan medical fraternity as, in his opinion, the quality and efficiency of the laboratory’s services ‘will sell itself’, and quotes the loosely translated Swahili saying: ”The good product sells itself while the bad product has to be peddled”.
“We are not competing with existing laboratories but we will create awareness by introducing quality, affordable, accessible expanded test menus, delivered through comprehensive services that will benefit the entire medical network, including existing laboratories.” He explains that quality standards of laboratory services in Kenya vary. “There is no effective monitoring or accreditation to allow a meaningful and objective assessment, so Lancet Kenya’s aim is to assist in bringing all local pathology testing in line with international standards”, comments Dr Ahmed.
“This is a timely and particularly exciting venture that I am confident will be appreciated and cherished by the Kenyan people, who will recognise the benefits that this facility will bring to the country,” concludes Dr Ahmed.
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