The MRC/UVRI Clinical laboratory is a key component of and supports all the research studies conducted by the Unit. The central laboratory in Entebbe and those in Kyamulibwa, Masaka and Kampala have tremendously expanded from small scale establishments using simple rapid methods to highly developed multidisciplinary laboratories capable of providing high quality and sophisticated diagnostics. In 2007, the laboratories moved into their own laboratory building which further improved the infrastructure and potential for continued improvement and expansion.
The laboratories are fitted with state of the art equipment which has promoted comprehensive provision of services for haematology, microbiology, serology, biochemistry and molecular diagnostics. A freezer archive section which has logged and data-based samples stored since the start of the unit has also been established.
The laboratory has built up considerable experience in Quality Assurance (QA) procedures and employs a full time QA manager. It is regularly audited by external organisations such PPD, CLS (South Africa) and the MRC Clinical Trial Unit. The laboratories in Entebbe and Masaka have gained accreditation under Good Laboratory Practice (Qualagy) and with sponsorship from EDCTP, are currently undergoing an audit process for ISO 15189 certification. This process is expected to be finalised by end of 2014.
All staff undergo GCLP training and are encouraged to take part in CME activities. Support is provided for short workshops and further education where appropriate, as well as continuous on-site training. The section supports staff capacity building and all have obtained BSc with some progressing to MSc awards. As far as possible an internal promotion system is in place to further encourage and retain staff who have excelled over the years.
The primary objectives of the section are;
1. To provide a high quality ‘safety testing’ and clinical diagnostic support services to the core MRC/UVRI clinical studies and trials, as well as other collaborative studies undertaken by the Unit
2. Maintain a database of all specimens collected and stored at the facilities
3. To strengthen the Entebbe laboratories as the central reference point for MRC in Uganda