THE government has given owners of unregistered private health laboratories two weeks to fulfill legal requirements and fee defaulters to clear their outstanding debts, warning that strict action will be taken against those who will defy the order.
Acting Director of Laboratory Services in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Katura Mathius said the move aimed at ensuring that people have access to quality services with national and international standards.
Dr Mathius also said that laboratory service providers are also required to observe principles and guidelines set by the Ministry of Health.
He was speaking in Morogoro during a meeting which drew together health laboratories regional coordinators to discuss various issues related to the provision of services with the aim of increasing efficiency.
“After meeting with the coordinators, we have learnt that there are some private health laboratories which are operating without registration, while others have not paid the required fees,” he said.
He said that he has directed regional coordinators to reach them and provide them with necessary information so that they can register their services.
Dr Mathius further said that owners of private health laboratories who have not paid fees should do so before expiry of the deadline set for April 30 this year.
He said that the fee paid by the service providers is used for coordination, inspection and management of health laboratories in the country in order to increase efficiency.
“We have also realised that some laboratory owners employ people who lack the required qualifications. They are supposed to employ professionals who have been registered by the Health Laboratory Practitioners Council. He therefore directed health laboratory regional coordinators to ensure that they oversee the provision of the service to allow people to have access to better services and receive proper medical treatment. “This will help to reduce unnecessary complaints from the patients,” he said.
Dr Mathius explained that Private Health Regulation No.10 of 1997 and the Ministry’s guidelines require regional coordinators to oversee establishment of private laboratories to ensure that patients are provided with appropriate services.
“You (coordinators) are supposed to observe the laws, regulations and guidelines governing the establishment of health laboratories and supervision of the services,” he noted.
He called upon them to set up various strategies for monitoring health laboratory services to see whether they comply with laws and the ministry guidelines in order to increase efficiency.
“Through the meeting between Private Health Laboratories Board and health laboratory owners from Dar es Salaam, the board chairperson directed all health laboratory owners across the country to clear their debts by April 30 this year, and unregistered labs to be registered before strict action is taken against them,” Dr Katura said.
He commended all coordinators for a job well done in overseeing private health laboratories in their respective areas to ensure that people have access to quality services, thus minimizing improper use of medicines.
On his part, Private Health Laboratory Registrar, Mr Dominic Fwiling’afu said that the meeting aimed at getting reports from the regional level on supervision of the service, success and challenges in order to improve the services.
He said that every regional coordinator is supposed to improve his work relations with their counterpart at district level so that they can work together during registration and in addressing various challenges facing people.
Mr Fwiling’afu further noted that the ministry of health through private health laboratories is working on laboratories grading based on the kind of services and the number of lab tests to be performed.
He stressed that health laboratories are required to perform lab tests only, noting that other medical services such as provision of medicines or admission of patients are restricted by laws.