Tufton urges private labs interested in COVID-19 testing to get in touch with JANAAC

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Tufton urges private labs interested in COVID-19 testing to get in touch with JANAAC

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Private laboratories interested in becoming authorised to conduct private antigen and polymerase chain reaction(PCR) testing for the coronavirus (COVID-19) are being encouraged to make contact with the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) and the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL).

The call has come from Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton.

“The ministry wishes to advise private laboratories to visit the JANAAC website and to participate in the enhanced accreditation programme for medical laboratories. Interested private labs should visit the JANAAC website atwww.janaac.gov.jmto access more information and to download the application form for registration,” the Minister said during a virtual press conference yesterday.

“The Ministry of Health and Wellness supports this initiative of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce and encourages all interested parties to register and get accredited,” he added.

JANAAC was established in March 2007 as Jamaica's national accreditation body, in order to provide accreditation services to conformity assessment bodies (CABs), such as laboratories, inspection bodies and certification bodies.

As a company owned by the Government, JANAAC's activities are subject to the requirement of the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act, the Procurement Regulations, the Financial Administration and Audit Act and the Companies Act of Jamaica.

Tufton noted concerns of the ministry with regards to pop-up testing sites that have been reported in the media during the past number of weeks.

“Although we recognise the right of a doctor to perform some tests, there is a duty of care that must be attained to ensure health and safety of all concerned. As such, the ministry wishes to reiterate the need for appropriate certification and accreditation of private individuals and companies that want to carry out testing for SARS-CoV2,” he said.

He reiterated the organisations the Government partnered with and already authorised to conduct private antigen and PCR testing for COVID-19.

There are seven private laboratories with 10 locations providing antigen testing and five private labs utilising six locations across the island that offer PCR testing.

With regard to antigen testing, the following laboratories have been approved – MicroLabs Limited in Kingston, Mandeville and Montego Bay; BioMedical/Caledonia Labs in Kingston and Montego Bay; Winchester Surgical and Medical Institute in Kingston; Bay West Hospital in St James; Hospiten in St James; Andrews Hospital in Kingston; and Technological Solutions Ltd in Kingston.

For PCR testing, CARIGEN in Kingston, MD Link in Kingston, BioMedical/Caledonia Labs in Kingston and St James, Bay West Hospital in St James, and Technological Solutions in Kingston are approved to conduct testing.

Tufton said the Ministry of Health and Wellness will continue to work with other private partners who are interested in working with the ministry, to expand the testing capacity in the country.

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