‘The Future is Lab’: the National Medical Lab hosts Lab Week

National Lab Week Exhibition

In recognition of the 49th annual National Laboratory Week, Dominica National Medical Laboratory and the Ministry of Health and Wellness have joined forces to sensitize the public on the prominence of the medical lab.

This year under the theme, “The Future is Lab” a week packed with activities promises to feed the necessary information, particularly to the upcoming generation of working adults.

During the week of celebrations, Senior Technologist and Officer in charge of the National Laboratory Prunella Robin Cuffy pushes for the much-deserved honor and gratitude owed to the unit and its staff. At the official opening of this year’s Lab Week on Monday, April 16, at the Public Service Building, Cuffy underscored the seemingly vast evolution of the local laboratory.

Located at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital, the National Medical Laboratory serves as the main entity of its kind on island and within the medical health system. According to a statement presented on behalf of National Epidemiologist Dr. Shalaudin Ahmed, Dominica advanced from standing out as “the first O.E.C.S country to establish PCR testing capabilities for COVID-19” to possessing the ability to conduct PCR testing for “dengue, chikungunya, and the zika virus.” Notably, the lab currently allows testing for the COVID-19 virus and Tuberculosis (TB) in large volumes.

Straying from the false narrative of the medical laboratory being a “behind the scenes entity,” Cuffy stressed its fore-front position in saving lives. She elaborated on her unit’s growth into a more patient-centered motive. “Our contribution is crucial for accurate diagnosis and treatment of diseases so this perception [behind the scenes entity] needs to change as lab services have always been client-centered and the information that we generate is used in the direct management of the clients themselves.”

She went on to highlight newly revised standards which places keen focus on a more patient-centered stewardship. “According to the ISO 15 19 of 2022…focus is more centered on clients and patients and the delivery of lab services are to be focused more on client/patient satisfaction,” Cuffy relayed.

The health and medical sector professionals exist beyond the profession of doctors and nurses and it is important to remember staff behind the scenes. In this regard, Cuffy firmly highlighted that, “the diagnostic capabilities of the lab are carried out by a group of dedicated, competent, and hard-working staff.”

In an effort to raise more awareness and shed light on the Medical Laboratory service and its staff’s efforts, Lab Week begins with an exhibition welcoming secondary school students and students of the Dominica State College. Cuffy confirms that the general public is also welcome to view the exhibits at the Public Service Union Building’s ground floor between Tuesday 16, and Wednesday 17, of April.

“Others are invited to attend but we are targeting the school children because what we plan to do is sensitize them because they will be going to the work force very soon so that’s what we are doing right now.”

Going through the organized schedule, she further expressed to DNO, “Wednesday we’re targeting the children again, we will have staff members going out to the various schools to build awareness, sensitize the students on the profession and what the lab is all about, because as I said before the lab is seen as a backdrop but we are very much involved in the health care system in Dominica.”

The 2024 National Lab Week runs from Monday, April 15 through Saturday, April 20.

The curtains will close on what is expected to be an impactful week, with a dinner at The Realm for staff of the National Laboratory Unit.

Following Lab Week another school outreach is in the pipeline for the near future

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1 Comment

  1. Samantha
    April 17, 2024

    congratulations to the lab for serving the Dominican people with such quality and timeliness. we truly appreciate your service

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