Uganda Gets HI-TECH Laboratories to Diagnose Cancer and Hepatitis B viral load

11 December, 2018 | Uganda | 105 views

Butabika – 6th December 2018 - The Uganda National Health Laboratory Services (UNHLS) at Butabika has received yet another boost in its effort to become the regional center of excellence in laboratory services.

Two reference laboratories have been launched at the UNHLS, including a high- level reference cancer diagnostic laboratory, the first of its kind in Uganda.

The National Heme Path Flow Cytometry Laboratory for cancer diagnosis will help improve diagnosis of particularly blood cancers especially lymphomas and leukemias.

While officiating at the commissioning of the Laboratories, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng decried the ever increasing Cancer incidence in Uganda, yet diagnostic capacity for cancers is still low. She said that the new reference laboratory for cancer diagnosis is critical in helping the doctors to plan the most appropriate course of treatment and in monitoring the effectiveness of therapy.

“I am reliably informed that this technology detects the presence and extent of the blood cancers even minimal residual disease – the small number of cancer cells that may remain after treatment despite no evidence of disease from other testing techniques” Hon. Aceng noted.

The second reference laboratory that was commissioned on the same day is the Hepatitis B Viral load laboratory to strengthen the country’s response to viral Hepatitis B.

According to the Population - based HIV Impact Assessment Survey, 2016, Hepatitis B prevalence stands at 4.3% with highest prevalence in northern region at 4.6%.

Hon Aceng added that Government of Uganda is committed in the fight against viral Hepatitis and in demonstration of this commitment, Government issued two statutory instruments to advance the fight against Hepatitis B, and also committed 10 billion shillings annually towards addressing the burden of Hepatitis B.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Diana Atwine said that the launch of these laboratories will not only solve issues around availability but also accessibility while appreciating partners for supporting this cause. She called upon the public to utilize these services.

“The service that our people have been seeking from South Africa and other countries is right here. Now, we all have a task to inform the population about the availability of these services to ensure optimum utilization and benefit to Ugandans” Dr. Atwine said.

During the same occasion, three laboratories received certificates for international accreditation. The accredited labs include, Kiryandongo General Hospital, Kayunga General hospital and St. Raphael of St. Francis Nsambya.

The accredited Laboratories join National Early Infant Diagnosis (EID)/ Viral Load laboratory, Mildmay Uganda laboratory, UVRI HIV reference laboratory and JCRC among others that already received international accreditation.

The Commissioner, UHNLS, Dr. Susan Nabadda appreciated the development partners including CDC, USAID, Global Fund ROCHE and all those who have supported Government of Uganda in enhancing laboratory services to make them available and accessible to the people of Uganda.

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