From the 15th of November to the 13th of December 2022, the Equipment Maintenance and Calibration (EMC) team of Global Health Systems Solutions (GHSS) engaged in the inspection, maintenance needs assessment, and certification of Biological Safety Cabinets (BScs) and Laminar Flow Clean Benches (LFCB) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The inspection and certification exercise included thirteen (13) pieces of equipment at seven hospital laboratories in Kinshasa and the Kamoto Copper Company (KCC) Watu Wetu Hospital and Hôpital Général de Référence Mwangeji Laboratories, both in Kolwezi, Lualaba Mining Province of DRC.
These laboratories are enrolled in the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO-AFRO) Stepwise Laboratory Quality Improvement Process Towards Accreditation (SLIPTA) process in Kinshasa and Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This project aims to ensure laboratory personnel’s safety, work environment, and patient samples comply with Section Twelve (12) of the SLIPTA checklist, the highest-rated quality system essential in the stated quality management system.
The GHSS EMC team also guided these laboratories’ staff in selecting, installing, maintaining, and certifying the different equipment. According to GHSS’ Biosafety and Biosecurity Officer, Mr. Tah Timothy Njuoh, the Classes I and II BSCs being certified will provide two and three levels of protection, enabling laboratory personnel to be able to work safely with infectious biological material.
Mr. Njuoh noted, “The Class I BSCs provide personal and environmental protection, while class II BSCs provide product protection in addition to what class I BSCs provide.” The BSCs inspection and certification exercise, which aligns with GHSS’ strive to enhance laboratory quality management systems in resource-poor countries, being funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) field station in Kinshasa, DRC.