National Health Laboratory ServicesThe NHLS is a national public entity established in terms of the National Health Laboratory Service Act, No. 37 of 2000, governed by a Board to provide quality, affordable, and sustainable health laboratory services, training, and research. It was established in 2001, by amalgamating the former South African Institute for Medical Research (SAIMR), the National Institute for Virology and the National Centre for Occupational Health. It is managed according to the provisions of the National Health Laboratory Service Act, the NHLS Rules, and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), No. 1 of 1999 (as amended).

Through its countrywide network of quality-assured diagnostic laboratories, the NHLS is the sole provider of diagnostic pathology services to over 80 percent of the South African population. It also provides surveillance support for communicable diseases, occupational health and cancer..

Our specialised institutes include the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) incorporating National Cancer Registry(NCR), the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH), Forensic Chemistry Laboratories (FCL) and the South African Vaccine Producers (SAVP), as our subsidiary.

The NHLS has laboratories in all nine provinces, employing approximately 8000 people.

The NHLS is Mandated to:

  • Provide cost-effective and efficient Health Laboratory Services to all public sector healthcare providers;
  • Support and conduct Health Research; and
  • Provide Training for Health Science Education in conjunction with medical facilities at universities and universities of technology.

The NHLS Plays a Major Role in:

  • COVID-19 testing in South Africa;,
  • Public health in South Africa through epidemiology, surveillance and outbreak response activities;
  • The national antiretroviral roll-out programme through Cluster of Differentiation 4 (CD4) and viral load studies and HIV treatment monitoring;
  • Diagnostic testing for non- communicable diseases;
  • Monitoring of tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis and treatment;
  • The screening for cervical cancer; and
  • The support of occupational health services.

Our Vision

To provide a high-quality pathology and laboratory services that are clinically efficient and cost-effective.

Our Mission

The NHLS will provide pathology and laboratory services through competent professionals and state-of-the-art technology, supported by evidence-based research, training, and innovation to enhance integrated service delivery to meet the needs of the population.

Our Values

The NHLS has identified the following values as the principles that govern the behaviour of all employees within the organisation:

The primary goal of the NHLS is to ensure the overall care and wellbeing of patients by supporting a strong and effective public healthcare system.

All employees should be united by a common vision and support each other to contribute to a beneficial and safe working environment.

This represents being committed to working with customers and building good relationships with them by understanding their needs, responding quickly and
and providing appropriate solutions

We will invest in the professional growth of staff by sharing knowledge and experience, peer networking, education through training and seeking
opportunities to develop.

We are committed to fostering an environment that supports research, with particular emphasis on innovative approaches to diagnostics, surveillance and
the strengthening of health systems to support national programmes.

We will set and achieve goals, consistently delivering business results while complying with standards and meeting deadlines.

The constant drive of process improvement is the key to a successful organisation. The NHLS needs to create a culture of continuous improvement by empowering ALL team members within the organisation to continuously seek opportunities for improvement.

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