Clarify to accurately reflect our views!Wednesday, September 08, 2021
Reference is made to the correspondence sent by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) in response to questions posed in an e-mail sent to us by Senior Staff Reporter Kimberley Hibbert on August 25, 2021 regarding COVID-19 testing. Having read the article published in the Sunday Observer on September 5, 2021 titled 'COVID Moneymaker – Testing a big cash cow as some benefit from racket' we wish to highlight the following observations:
1) The paraphrasing of our response to the question, “Has JANAAC received reports of unapproved business places conducting COVID-19 testing?” resulted in a modification to the message shared. In this response a distinction was made between entities that are interested in offering pre-accredited COVID-19 testing services versus general inquiries made to help individuals and businesses identify JANAAC-accredited or pre-accredited COVID-19 testing service providers.
JANAAC's original response was: Since the launch of the JANAAC Pre-Accreditation Approval Programme (PAAP) on January 21, 2021, our agency has received over 100 inquiries from entities interested in offering pre-accredited COVID-19 testing services to the public. Scores have applied, thus contributing to the total of 31 PAAP-approved entities as at September 1, 2021. We have also responded to queries received from individuals and businesses on entities that have been approved/pre-accredited/accredited by our agency or the MOHW [Ministry of Health and Wellness] to provide COVID-19 testing. Enquirers are invited to visit the JANAAC website at www.janaac.gov.jm/paap/accredited-approved-paap for a directory of PAAP-approved entities or www.janaac.gov.jm/accredited-cabs/labs where they will find details on Fleet Diagnostic Laboratory, which is the only laboratory to be accredited for COVID-19 testing in accordance with the ISO 15189:2012 standard since April 2021.
2) We are also concerned with the statement in the article: “Concerning the racketeering operations of unapproved labs, Shirley said consistent with the management of the national accreditation programme since it began operations in April 2008, JANAAC has implemented systems to assess and monitor the services provided by accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) within its accreditation scope.”
This statement was taken out of context and was intended to demonstrate that JANAAC, since its inception, has implemented monitoring systems for its accreditation services. However, the matter concerning the monitoring of the JANAAC PAAP-approved entities and accredited laboratories that conduct COVID-19 testing was explained in our statement: “As it relates specifically to the accredited laboratory and pre-accredited entities that have been JANAAC-endorsed to conduct COVID-19 testing, we conduct robust assessments and monitoring programmes to verify the consistent quality of test results used to determine patient care in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Where breaches are identified during the monitoring process, suitable action will be taken by JANAAC, which, depending on the nature of the breaches, may result in sanctions being levied against the accreditation and PAAP customers.”
3) The final paragraph in the article: “With regard to the concerns raised by doctors with JANAAC approval that they are yet to receive MOHW approval, Shirley said JANAAC, in conjunction with the ministry, is in discussions with the MOHW to address matters raised by its PAAP clients.”
Please note that the discussions are with JANAAC, our portfolio ministry, and the MOHW. The insertion of the phrase “portfolio ministry” states the integral role being played by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC) in the consultations.
We ask that the necessary amendments be made by the Jamaica Observer to clarify and accurately reflect the views expressed by JANAAC in sharing information on our mandate as the national accreditation body of Jamaica and the support we provide to the national COVID-19 testing regime, in response to the questions posed by your newspaper on the subject matter.
As customary, our office remains available to provide you with additional information or clarification on our services, and we look forward to our continued collaboration in informing the public on critical matters of national importance.
Chief Executive Officer
Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation
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