Accreditation crucial for trade facilitation — Uledi

Senior Metrologist, Mr. Alphonse Kagoma presents a paper during the World Accreditation Day seminar

Inadequate national accreditation systems in most developing countries prevents their full integration into the world trading system and thereby stunting their overall economic and social development.

The remark was made by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Mr. Mussa Uledi in a speech read on his behalf by the Director of Trade Promotions and Marketing from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Mr. Odilo Majengo, while opening a seminar on the commemoration of the World Accreditation Day in Dar es Salaam.

The Permanent Secretary noted that the formal recognition accreditation provides, makes trade easy and acceptable worldwide and that once a product is tested in an accredited laboratory it is accepted worldwide.

He added that with an increased need in quality goods and services in the world, there is no way to avoid accreditation since one of the primary purposes of accreditation is to provide confidence to the end users.

“Accreditation is a useful marketing tool that is internationally recognized as a reliable indicator of technical competence to perform a specific task…the confidence given by any accredited facility including in medical sector gives assurance that facilitates decision making,” he said.

He asserted that a remarkable milestone on accreditation has been achieved in the country whereas fifteen laboratories have been accredited including three from the health sector.

On his part, the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Seif Rashid said five medical laboratories have already participated in the implementation of ISO 15189 standards in which four out of them have been accredited internationally.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Director of Quality Assurance in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Mr. Mohamed Mohamed, the Minister mentioned the accredited laboratories as the National Health Laboratory Quality Assurance and Training Centre, Bugando Medical Centre, Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital and Muhimbili National Hospital.

However, he revealed that the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre has been assessed by the South African Development Community Accreditation Services (SADCAS) and is waiting to get accredited after clearing nonconformities while Mnazi Mmoja hospital in Zanzibar will be assessed by SADCAS at any time this year.

He said the Ministry has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with PharmAccess International to establish accreditation system for health facilities in the country using SafeCare standards which are meant for primary level health facilities from dispensaries to level one hospitals.

According to the Minister, so far five regions namely Coastal Region, Dodoma, Mwanza, Iringa and Njombe have been reached covering 36 health facilities in level one.

He added that the Ministry will continue to support efforts of accreditation process in the country with the aim of having fully functional accreditation system by the fiscal year 2017/2018.

“One of the key pre-requisites to achieve this goal is the establishment of an accreditation body…efforts are underway to collect views and inputs from stakeholders that will help the Ministry to speed up the establishment of the body,” said the Minister.

Early on, delivering welcoming remarks on behalf of the Acting Director General of Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) Mr. Joseph Masikitiko, TBS Director of Testing and Calibration Ms. Edna Ndumbaro said the Bureau organized the one-day seminar as a step to raise awareness on accreditation issues to the public.

She said it is important for goods and services tested, inspected or certified in Tanzania to be accepted worldwide without the need for additional testing, inspection or certification before entering the international market.

She added that at least four TBS laboratories are accredited namely Metrology Laboratory, Food Micro-biology Laboratory and Chemistry/water Laboratory while others are in the process of being accredited.

The World Accreditation Day has been celebrated worldwide on 9th June each year since 2008. It is a global initiative jointly established by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) to raise awareness of the importance of accreditation related activities.

Accreditation is a process by which an authoritative body gives formal recognition that a body or person is competent to carry out specific tasks. This year’s theme, “Accreditation — Supporting the Delivering of Health and Social Care,” mainly focuses on how accreditation can support the delivery of health and social care.