The Caribbean Med Labs Foundation (CMLF) hosted a Regional Policy Meeting on Regulation of OECS Laboratories in St Lucia on 12 & 13 November, 2019. The Meeting was held as part of the implementation of the laboratory component of the Global Fund HIV and TB Elimination Project (HTEP) which is being implemented by CMLF as a Sub-Recipient under the OECS Commission.
The Meeting was attended by key persons from Health Ministries across the six OECS Member States – Permanent Secretaries and Chief Medical Officers and/or their representatives including National AIDS Programme Managers and Laboratory Managers as well as representatives from the OECS Commission.
Key best practices were shared by countries that have made significant progress to date in advancing with policy and legislation adoption, and a common roadmap with milestones was developed and agreed for the adoption and implementation of the national laboratory policy and legislation in each OECS Member State. CMLF will utilise this roadmap to establish a monitoring and evaluation schedule and feedback mechanism and to provide countries with support for implementation over the remaining two years of the Continuation Grant.
As the region continues to face the ongoing challenge of chronic disease epidemics, laboratory services increasingly play a critical role in diagnosis and treatment monitoring as well as in providing guidance for public health interventions. The urgency of implementing national laboratory policies and legislation to guide and monitor national laboratory services – both public and private – has become an even greater imperative in light of very limited regional resources to manage the increasing demands of these emerging disease epidemics and other challenges such as the extreme weather events to which our region has become prone. Adoption and implementation of these policies and legislation are key to ensuring the quality, accessibility and confidentiality of laboratory services delivered by both public and private sector laboratories within OECS Member States.