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Uganda’s medical laboratories exposing patients to infections – report

By Tom Mugisha,

KAMPALA- Uganda’s Medical laboratories are exposing health workers to terminal infectious agents from clinical specimens which they later transmit to patients due to lack of protective kits, a new report on bio risk management (BRM) has indicates.

“In Uganda, the magnitude of the infections, injuries and contamination arising from health laboratories varies from mild to fatal and laboratory health workers continue to be victims to related accidents albeit limited documentation,” the National Laboratory Biorisk Management audit report 2017, says.

The audit, according to Daily Monitor  newspaper about  210 laboratories analyzed ,medical laboratory performance at 33 per cent far below the standard 50 per cent protection against biological substances which pose a threat to the health of living organisms, primarily that of humans (Biorisk management).

These infections range from bone, blood, skin infections and pathogens that can cause fatal epidemics including cholera, ebola and Marburg, which can spread out of the laboratory to the public.

Out of the 210 laboratories analysed, 180 were government owned while 30 per cent were privately owned.

The problem  was found in the areas of management responsibilities, storage and sanitation facilities, waste management, occupational safety and health, chemical hazard, lab biosecurity, personal protective gears, and infectious materials.

“This audit reveals that all laboratories assessed are below average and therefore they could be at increased risk to laboratory harzards,” the report notes further.

In response to the report, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Dr Diana Atwine, said the ministry is planning to “streamline laboratory guidelines” intended to strengthen the protection of all health workers from any materials that are hazardous.

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