KAMPALA – Accurate Pathology Diagnosis is critical to proper management of cancer patients. Several studies done worldwide and here in Uganda have shown both diagnostic discrepancy and delay in diagnosing patients seeking care for cancer.
In a bid to improve Pathology diagnosis for cancer, the Ministry of Health through the Department of National Health Laboratory and Diagnostic Services (NHLDS) and Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) with support from the East African Public health Laboratory Network (EAPHLN) has started a comprehensive pathology training to improve cancer diagnosis and care.
Officiating at the launch of the trainings, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Diana Atwine reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to improve the quality of diagnostic pathology in the country.
“Through CPHL, we have established the National transport network system across the country to enable faster and efficient transportation of initially HIV/Early Infant Diagnosis (HIV/EID) samples but now integrated it with pathology samples that are delivered to the different laboratories to improve access to pathology services” she noted.
Dr. Atwine added that the Ministry of Health has undertaken a number of other initiatives, including the establishment of a Pathology Laboratory at the UCI to improve pathology diagnosis for cancer patients, leveraging on the other already existing pathology laboratories to improve cancer diagnosis for example; the National heme-path reference laboratory recently established at CPHL/UNHLS and also the pathology lab in the Mulago super specialized hospital and Women’s hospital that houses some of the country’s state of the art laboratories.
The Ministry is also in the early stages of building a reference laboratory for cancer at the UCI with the support of the African Development Bank, supporting the entire Masters in Pathology class of Makerere University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) to improve numbers of trained staff and expanding the same support to other laboratory disciplines to increase both quality and quantity of laboratory staff.
The Ag. Commissioner, National Health Laboratory and Diagnostic Services, Dr. Susan Nabadda said that this training brings together different specializations to work together to improve the quality of pathology services and will consequently improve on the cancer diagnosis but also diagnosis of other diseases other than cancer and strengthen sample harvesting, transportation and processing.
The training which targets Surgeons, Gynecoloogists, Midwives and Laboratory personnel will be conducted from selected Regional Referral Hospitals between 14th May and June 28th, 2019, and participants will acquire skills in quality sample collection, packaging and transportation of samples, among other skills, which have been identified to be leading to diagnostic discrepancies and delays.