The Standards and Technical Services Department of the Public Health Ministry recently held its inaugural award ceremony for medical laboratory professionals during which 12 public sector laboratories and 16 individuals were honoured.

Laboratories operating at the Mabaruma, Suddie and West Demerara hospitals, and the Diamond Diagnostic Centre were recognised for their contributions in the highly specialised field. Other laboratories awarded function at Fort Wellington, New Amsterdam, Skeldon and Bartica hospitals. Those at Kamarang, Lethem, and the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) received accolades too.

Two of the individual honorees, Mrs. Arlette Inniss-Pearce and Ms. Rena Marks, gave a combined total of 71 years’ of service to the field of laboratory. Marks, a medical technologist attached to the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) has given 36 years of dedicated service to the field.

Inniss-Pearce, who specialises in haematology (a branch of medicine that deals with diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs) and who also is head of the National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL), has devoted the past 35 years to the public sector.

Others awarded were: Sharmella Ramaswar, Keizer Percy, Donessa Harry, Natasha Torres, Keon Kyte, Kenny Morris, Alicia Debideen, Vidya Outar, Nataline Seepersaud, Moya Williams, Alexis Pearson, Renuka Lall-Mahadeo, and Nolan Hawke, the sole private sector honoree.

Organisers surprised Mrs. Joyce Whyte-Chin, National Coordinator, Medical Laboratory Services of the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) with an award.

When she addressed the gala dinner Saturday, Whyte-Chin reminded her audience that laboratory services are often “at the forefront of medical advances in any health system (whether) public or private.”

“One can predict that important role clinical laboratories play from testing, diagnosing, screening for maladies to provide efficacious treatment to patients. High-quality healthcare is not possible without high-quality laboratory services,” Whyte-Chin said.

She said clinicians rely on lab results to have a 100 percent accuracy of what a patient might be suffering from. “In essence, they are asking the laboratory to help them take care of their patient,” she reminded.

Laboratory test results are needed across the entire continuum of healthcare including the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of diseases. Lab results are also often used for research purposes and are also a critical tool for outbreaks in any country.

Whyte-Chin said clinical laboratories are “sophisticated and complicated environments” and require sufficient space, light and infrastructure, specialised personnel and well-functioning and validated instruments and a robust supply chain.

“When a patient agrees to do a blood test, they do so with trust that their specimen will be treated carefully and seriously – that the lab specialist will quickly perform the correct testing so that an accurate and trustworthy result is provided to the clinician.”

“The result of a single blood test can change a life and it is of utmost importance that the laboratory is one that can be trusted and that it is provided in a timely manner,” Whyte-Chin added.



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