State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. the Hon. Norman Dunn and Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), Sharonmae Shirley, are encouraging citizens to utilise accredited medical labs.
“It is important, and I can’t overemphasise that persons need to access accredited facilities. Accreditation underscores data quality, data handling and client care, which are pivotal factors, as critical medical decisions are made based on the results generated by our testing labs, especially given the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” Dr. Dunn told JIS News.
He noted that the Ministry and JANAAC have partnered to roll out a programme for Jamaica’s laboratories and medical facilities, aimed at improving their capabilities to expeditiously test for COVID-19, considering calls by the Ministry of Health and Wellness for greater collaboration and support to reduce unauthorised and unapproved COVID-19 testing facilities.
“The Pre-Accreditation Approval Programme (PAAP), an innovation created by JANAAC, brings expediency to meeting the demand for quality COVID-19 testing across the island. The programme is also aimed at providing a longer pathway to accreditation for those conformity assessment bodies that do not currently satisfy all the requirements of the respective international standard,” Dr. Dunn said.
He reiterated that the provision of accurate test results is integral to the decisions made by government leaders and healthcare professionals in treating the current global health crisis.
“Accurate testing amid the pandemic is important in building global trust, which is necessary to reduce the uncertainties associated with overseas travel. As Government, we are committed to ensuring the health and safety of every Jamaican; therefore, validation by JANAAC, an internationally recognised accreditation body, will provide the requisite confidence to all stakeholders regarding the accuracy of test results in Jamaica,” the State Minister said.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Shirley said that citizens using accredited medical facilities increases stakeholder confidence in Jamaica’s COVID-19 testing capacity, while assuring sustained quality healthcare outcomes to strengthen the national COVID-19 prevention and containment strategies.
“If you receive a false-negative COVID-19 test result, because the facility was negligent in conducting the test, you, the patient, run the risk of compromising the health of others, while inadvertently neglecting yours,” Mrs. Shirley pointed out.
“JANAAC is unwavering in maintaining a robust accreditation programme that serves not only Jamaica but also seven other states in the region. Our international recognition for the accreditation of medical and testing labs assures that the results generated by accredited entities can be trusted and eliminates the need for retesting in target markets,” she added.
She shared that a list of all accredited labs can be found on the JANAAC website: www.janaac.gov.jm and the Ministry of Health and Wellness website: www.mohw.gov.jm.
Medical testing facilities interested in joining the Pre-Accreditation Programme for COVID-19 testing may contact JANAAC at (876) 968-7790/ 968-7799 or visit their website.
JANAAC is the only internationally recognised accreditation body in the English-speaking Caribbean that is a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) and the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC) Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) for ISO/IEC 17025 (testing laboratories) and ISO 15189 (medical testing).
The agency is also a signatory to the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement for accreditation of inspection bodies to the ISO/IEC 17020 standard.