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 comprises of the following;

National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH)

The National National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH), is recognised internationally for excellence in research, service and training to support occupational health services not only in South Africa but also in Southern Africa through its extensive outreach activities and collaborations.

The NIOH has made great strides in terms of its overall objectives, particularly around quality, and continues to provide training, service and research assistance to a wide range of local, provincial and central government stakeholders.

Forensic Chemistry Laboratory (FCL)

There are four Forensic Chemistry Laboratories (FCL’s) in South Africa, one in each of Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg.

The core business of the FCL’s include:

  • Blood Alcohol analysis is performed on ante-mortem and post-mortem blood in terms of the Criminal Procedures Act 51 of 1977, sections 212 4(a) and 8 (a) and the National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1991, Section 65.
  • Toxicology cause of death determination is performed on biological fluids such as blood, urine and vitreous humor, human organs such as stomach, liver and kidneys, and physical exhibit material such as poison or drugs found on the scene of death in terms of the Criminal Procedures Act 51 of 1977, as well as the Inquest Act 58 of 1959.
  • Foodstuffs and cosmetics are tested in terms of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, Act 54 of 1972. National sample runs are coordinated and communicated to the provinces by the NDoH Food Control Directorate, in collaboration with the FCLs.

The four FCL’s serve the total geographical area and population of South Africa. Clients include the South African Police Service, Forensic Pathology Services Mortuaries of the Department of Health in the provinces, National Prosecuting Authority and Local Authorities (municipalities).

National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD)

The National National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) Institute for National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), is a national public health institute, providing reference microbiology, virology, epidemiology, surveillance and public health research to support the government’s response to communicable disease threats.

The NICD serves as a resource of knowledge and expertise of communicable diseases to the South African Government, Southern African Development Community countries and the African continent. The institution assists in the planning of policies and programmes to support and respond to communicable diseases.

The NICD gathers intelligence on communicable diseases and provides expertise to southern African regions regarding outbreak and communicable disease burdens, such as respiratory, diarrhoeal diseases, meningitis, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The NICD undertakes research focused on questions related to communicable diseases in southern Africa and it aims to build capacity in this field.


The South African Vaccine Producers

South African Vaccine Producers (SAVP)

The South African Vaccine Producers (SAVP) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), and is the only manufacturer of anti-venom for the treatment of scorpion stings, snake and spider bites in the sub Saharan African region.

NHLS National Biobank

The NHLS Biobank was established in response to the growing burden of communicable and non- communicable diseases in South Africa

Provides long term and short term storage of biomaterial

Collaborations with the international healthcare community

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