The National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) was established through legislation to combine all laboratories in the public health system. This moment aptly affirmed the pride of an unfolding country and transformed the public health service.
The specialist communicable disease arm, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) was established under the NHLS. This formation came into being through the merging of the National Institute for Virology, the Virology Laboratories and Public Health Microbiology Laboratories of the South African Institute for Medical Research.
Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang officially launched the NHLS on 26 November.
The National Academic Pathology Committee, comprising of representatives from the faculty of health sciences from Universities and Technikons, formed a committee to develop an Umbrella Agreement to govern relationships between universities and the NHLS.
The sub-Saharan arm of the geographic project of the National Geographic Society, which investigates genetic ancestry was established in the NHLS/Wits Human Genetic Division.
Professor Valerie Mizrahi was voted South African Woman of the year in the Health, Science and Technology category of the Checkers/SABC 2 Awards.
A cooperate data warehouse was initiated to provide efficient access to data, focusing mainly on priority health programmes such as HIV, TB and cervical cancer. A Call Centre was established in this regard to improve accessibility of the public and help build strong customer relations.
The implementation programme for the new standardised laboratory information system TrakCare was launched on 13 October.
Geoff Lockwood, a well known Ornithologist was bitten by a bloomslang at the Kruger National Park. He was then transferred to Milpark hospital where he was successfully treated with the bloomslang antivenom manufactured by the South African Vaccine Producers (SAVP) - a proud division of the NHLS.
The National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH), a division of the NHLS gave recommendations and declared Orlando Towers safe for public use, consequent to conducting a risk assessment over concerns for possible health risks posed by asbestos cement pipes that remained in the towers.
The NHLS accomplished being the first laboratory diagnostic service on the African continent to develop groundbreaking GeneXpert technology for the diagnosis of the TB and rifampicin resistance that produces a result in two hours, compared to the microscopy and cultures that take between 48 hours and four weeks respectively. On the occasion of World TB Day on 24 March, Minister Aaron Motsoaledi unveiled the high-tech GeneXpert tuberculosis diagnostic instrument at the NHLS’ Prince Mshiyeni Hospital laboratory at KwaZulu-Natal.
A proud year for the organisation and the country as two NHLS researchers revealed a breakthrough in the global search for an HIV vaccine. Professor Lynn Morris, head of NICD’s HIV research department and Penny Moore, senior scientist at NICD played a pivotal role in the discovery that a weakness exists in the HIV virus, which enables certain people to produce potent antibodies.
In 2013, the NHLS was proud to receive the Business Initiative Directions (BID) International Stars Award for quality. The award was given to the NHLS for the demonstrated and proven commitment to quality and for the continuous quest for excellence towards customers through attention to products and services.
Approximately 2.4 million HIV viral load tests were performed across the country for the April 2013 to March 2014 period. This was a 20% increase from the previous financial year and a similar increase is anticipated for the 2014/15 financial period, as the number of patients being initiated onto Antiretroviral (ARV) treatment increases. The NHLS is proud to have 17 HIV viral load laboratories nationwide, with nine laboratories using the Roche Cobas Ampliprep/Cobas TaqMan system and eight laboratories using the Abbott m2000 system. In early 2014, additional instruments were placed at Frere Hospital in East London and Edendale Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, and others at Addington Hospital.
On World TB Day 2015 Cepheid And NHLS Commemorate
For Cepheid Media Inquiries: Jared Tipton Cepheid Corporate Communications 408-400-8377 communications@cepheid.
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