May 28, 2024
Health Lifestyle

WHO designates Botswana National HIV Reference Laboratory as its Collaborating Centre of Excellence

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the Botswana National HIV Reference Laboratory in Botswana as a WHO Collaborating Centre of Excellence in recognition of the laboratory’s excellence in the field of HIV diagnosis and the potential of deeper collaboration with WHO in advancing the health and well-being of people living with HIV.

According to the WHO, Botswana has made tremendous strides in improving its diagnostic and laboratory systems, particularly in the areas of human capacity building, health event and outbreak detection and management, reduction of the turnaround time of laboratory results, expansion of the national public health laboratory testing menus, genomic sequencing for detection of newly discovered strong signals, as well as accreditation of its laboratories for improved and quality services.

Patient confidence

Accreditation to these standards not only allows Botswana’s public laboratories to be compared with the world’s best laboratories but also gives patients and clinicians confidence that patient management and care are based on correct disease diagnosis, a WHO statement pointed out.

The Botswana National HIV Reference Laboratory is accredited to ISO 15189 and designated as a WHO HIV Drug Resistance Laboratory (WHO HIV ResNet-HIV Drug Resistance Network) in 2019.

The WHO HIV drug resistance laboratory operational framework offers guidance on how WHO HIVResNet laboratories function to support national, regional and global HIV drug resistance surveillance by providing accurate genotyping results in a standardised format in line with WHO specifications.

Government backing

Given these developments, the Government of Botswana deliberately decided to designate the Botswana National HIV Reference Laboratory as a WHO Collaborating Centre for HIV drug resistance and other diagnostic testing.

This was confirmed through the signing of the designation by Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, President of Botswana, and the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Gaborone, Botswana, on August 28, 2023.

“Designation of this laboratory as a WHO Collaborating Centre of Excellence gives our country the confidence that we are on the right track in achieving the WHO 2030 goal for epidemic control,” said Dr Masisi.

Dr Ghebreyesus said: “The Botswana National HIV Reference Laboratory has long been a centre of excellence in responding to the challenges posed by HIV and supporting the health sector and communities at large to provide the diagnoses and details needed to make informed, patient-centred choices.”

Last Updated on 8 months by Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, aerospace, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, automotive, and fashion verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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