During a national policy workshop which occurred in Ebolowa, South Region, Cameroon, from March 24th to 26th, 2022, Laboratory stakeholders and professionals in Cameroon validated the National Laboratory Policy, pending some modifications for adoption by the Cameroon Government, before dissemination. Laboratories are a vital part of all health systems and their ability to improve healthcare delivery, therefore, it is essential to establish and implement national laboratory strategic plans and policies that integrate laboratory systems for improved disease control and surveillance, and patient management (Brown et al., 2015; Nkengasong et al., 2009).
The policy development process was facilitated by the Department of Pharmacies, Drugs and Laboratories (DPML), with funds from the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) and Global Health Systems Solutions (GHSS) funded projects. The National Laboratory Policy review and validation were also carried out within the framework of the Central Africa Regional Integrated Surveillance and Laboratory Network (RISLNET) project implemented by GHSS with funds from Africa CDC.
The stakeholders that participated in the validation of this policy included Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health (MoH), representatives of the Cameroon Association of Medical Laboratory Science (CAMELS), Centre Pasteur Cameroon (CPC), Centre for Research on Emerging and Re-Emerging Diseases (CREMER), National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), Faculty of medicine and biomedical sciences of some two state universities, partner organizations like Resolve to Save Lives (RSL), African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM), and Global Health Systems Solutions (GHSS). This team of medical professionals with expertise in laboratory science reviewed and amended the draft national laboratory policy of Cameroon written in 2013. This culminated in the validation of the revised national laboratory policy, with some recommended modifications.
At the close of the workshop activities, the facilitator, Dr. Mbomba Jesica, Inspector No 5 for Pharmaceutical and Laboratory Services of the Cameroon Ministry of Public Health, expressed satisfaction with the quality of the validated national laboratory policy for Cameroon. She thanked all laboratory stakeholders at the workshop for their contributions towards reviewing while noting that the policy document needed some more modification before national adoption.
In terms of the next steps, the Laboratory Service of the MoH is expected to develop a framework for monitoring and implementing the policy. They will also have to put in place an ad-hoc committee that will implement all recommended corrections in the policy, translate it into English and submit it to the Cameroon Government for adoption. After adoption, the National Laboratory Policy will be distributed within the country to all relevant stakeholders for implementation.
Brown, C. S., Zwetyenga, J., Berdieva, M., Volkova, T., Cojocaru, R., Costic, N., Ciobanu, S., Hasanova, S., van Beers, S., & Oskam, L. (2015). New policy-formulation methodology paves the way for sustainable laboratory systems in Europe. Public Health Panorama, 1(01), 41–47.
Nkengasong, J. N., Mesele, T., Orloff, S., Kebede, Y., Fonjungo, P. N., Timperi, R., & Birx, D. (2009). Critical role of developing national strategic plans as a guide to strengthen laboratory health systems in resource-poor settings. American Journal of Clinical Pathology, 131(6), 852–857.