By Wallace Mawire
A Zimbabwean Covid-19 testing centre has been given the highest possible rating by the Africa Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM), which has seen it being include on the Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC) Trusted Platform.
Cimas Medical Laboratories (Medlabs) Covid-19 Laboratory Testing passed the ASLM Covid-19 testing audit on June 4. It will now be listed on the Africa CDC Covid-19 Trusted Travel Platform portal (https://africacdc.org/trusted-travel/).
Africa CDC established the platform in to harmonise Covid-19 certification for exit from and entry to African Union member states and to curb sub-optimal or fake Covid-19 test certificates.
Talkmore Maruta, senior biosafety and biosecurity officer at the Africa CDC, announced Medlabs’ milestone via Twitter saying: “Congratulations to Cimas Medical Laboratory Harare for attaining five stars and certification through the Africa CDC/ASLM Covid-19 Laboratory Certification Programme.”
Tsitsi Moyo, Cimas group medical advisor and ancillary services manager, described the certification as a major achievement.
“We are the only private lab so far accredited after the Reference Laboratory, which was only accredited (recently),” Moyo said.
“It is pleasing to know that our Covid-19 testing has met the rigorous standards of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and that those obtaining a negative certificate from our laboratory should be able to enter other countries in Africa with little difficulty, when it comes to the validity of their test results.”
Cimas healthcare services general manager, Sacrifice Chirisa, said the audit process that culminated in the certification was rigorous.
“There was a rigorous Covid testing audit from pre-analytical to analytical and post-analytical stages,” Chirisa said. “The audit included staff competence assessment.”
Elson Mberi, Cimas Medlabs pathologist and clinical haematologist, attributed the achievement to the quality of work at the laboratory.
“We have a great team that is meticulous in all it does,” Mberi said. “We were confident of the quality of our work, but it is always pleasing to have that confirmed by others.”
Already some African countries are insisting on those entering their countries having Trusted Travel Platform Covid-19 digital test certificates.
Ethiopia, for instance, in a recent travel advisory, said as from July 1, only AU Trusted Travel or United Nations Development Programme -sponsored Global Haven Covid-19 digital test certificates will be accepted for exit, entry and transit purposes.
Cimas is one of the private health care providers that have been at the forefront in the fight against Covid-19 in Zimbabwe.
It is part of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries-led Business Preparedness Prevention and Response Initiative (BPPRI), to mobilise resources to equip local public and private hospitals to effectively treat Covid-19 patients.
BPPRI comprises business member organisations. Cimas provides health advisory services for the initiative’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.