Transformation of Laboratory Services

CMLF plays a critical role in leading the transformation of laboratory services within the Caribbean to achieve quality assured diagnostics and laboratory capacity that are critical to strong economies and to withstanding current and future public health threats.

Emerging and existing infectious disease threats such as COVID19 and HIV, as well as existing non-communicable disease challenges such as diabetes, heart disease and cancers highlight the critical importance of accurate, reliable and timely laboratory testing for diagnosis as well as patient care and management.

In this regard, CMLF has and continues to promote, continuously advocate for and support regional Government efforts to develop and introduce laboratory policy, legislation and regulation. Towards achieving this, Ministers of Health have endorsed this national laboratory policy initiative since 2014 at their Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD). In 2019 the COHSOD again endorsed the need for adoption and implementation of laboratory policies as critical to achieving quality-assured and adequately resourced laboratories in support of patient management and public health. COVID-19 has reminded us all that the time to implement policy and legislation and to improve resourcing of public laboratories to ensure readiness of regional laboratories to address public health threats is now!

CMLF stresses the urgency of developing National Laboratory Policy to guide planning and implementation for the management of these and other rapidly emerging challenges with very limited resources. The Foundation is also underscoring that the development and implementation of National Laboratory Policy is a key requirement for national laboratory infrastructure under the International Health Regulations.

The resource challenges and current disease threats demand that countries approach the national laboratory service (both public and private), in as structured, strategic, efficient and cost-effective a manner as possible. The environment for delivering an effective national laboratory service is unfortunately likely to become even more challenging in the short to medium term.