Cimas Medical Laboratories (Medlabs) Covid-19 Laboratory Testing has been certified and awarded five stars, the highest possible rating, by the Africa Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM), resulting in its being included on the Africa CDC’s Trusted Travel Platform.
The platform has been established by the Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC) to harmonise Covid-19 certification for exit from and entry to African Union member states and to curb sub-optimal or fake Covid-19 test certificates.
Cimas Medlabs on Friday (June 4) passed the ASLM Covid-19 testing audit. It will now be listed on the Africa CDC Covid-19 Trusted Travel portal (https://africacdc.org/trusted-travel/).
“Congratulations to Cimas Medical Laboratory Harare for attaining five stars and certification through the Africa CDC/ASLM Covid-19 Laboratory Certification Programme,” tweeted Dr Talkmore Maruta, senior biosafety and biosecurity officer at the Africa Centres for Disease Control.
Already some African countries are insisting on those entering their countries having Trusted Travel digital certificates.
Ethiopia, for instance, has stated in a travel advisory that as from July 1, 2021, only AU Trusted Travel or UNDP-sponsored Global Haven Covid-19 digital test certificates will be accepted for exit, entry and transit purposes.
Cimas Group Medical Advisor and Ancillary Services Manager, Tsitsi Moyo said the certification was a major achievement.
“We are the only private lab so far accredited after the Reference Lab, which was only accredited on Wednesday,” she said.
Cimas Healthcare Services General Manager, Dr Sacrifice Chirisa, said the audit process that resulted in the certification was rigorous.
“There was a rigorous Covid testing audit from pre-analytical to analytical and post-analytical stages. The audit included staff competence assessment,” he said.
Cimas Medlabs Pathologist and Clinical Haematologist Dr Elson Mberi said there is a great team at the laboratory.
“We have a great team that is meticulous in all it does,” he said. “We were confident of the quality of our work but it is always pleasing to have that confirmed by others,” he said.
Quality assurance manager Sandra Mavuto said ensuring the highest standards and reliability of test results had always been the hallmark of Cimas Medlabs.
“We were the first medical clinical laboratory in Zimbabwe to attain ISO 15189 Accreditation, the international standard for medical laboratories, which we obtained in 2014. We have passed each and every annual scrutiny required to maintain this accreditation,” she said.
“Our high standards are no doubt the reason why the Ministry of Health and Child Care, through its director of laboratory services, Dr Raiva Simbi, recommended Cimas Medlabs for the Covid-19 testing certification,” she said.
Cimas has been at the forefront in the fight against Covid-19. It was quick to introduce Covid‑19 testing and has been part of the CZI led Business Preparedness Prevention and Response Initiative (BPPRI) to mobilise resources to equip public and private hospitals to effectively treat Covid-19 patients.
BPPRI includes Business Member Organisations, namely Chamber of Zimbabwe Industries, Chamber of Mines, Zimbabwe National Chambers of Commerce, Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe, Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe and the Tourism Business Council for Zimbabwe.
It is also the Health Advisor to the BPPRI Covid-19 vaccination programme to complement the public sector programme.
“It is pleasing to know that our Covid-19 testing has met the rigorous standards of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and that those obtaining a negative certificate from our laboratory should be able to enter other countries in Africa with little difficulty, when it comes to the validity of their test results,” Mrs Moyo said.