The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has called upon all companies with laboratories to ensure that they adhere to the quality Standards for laboratories; ISO/IEC 17025:2017 General requirements for testing and calibration laboratories, ISO 9001 requirements.
The call was made during an online stakeholder engagement with all companies that own laboratories, organised by UNBS with support from the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU).
The engagement is part of the laboratory recognition project by UNBS with support from PSFU, to train selected laboratories that offer testing and calibration services for both export and local market.
Laboratory recognition is a formal declaration by a recognized body (standards body or accreditation body), after assessment and confirmation, that a laboratory is competent and effective in performing tests and or calibration the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025 standard.
Laboratory recognition is important because it reduces technical barriers to trade across borders as results from recognized laboratories are accepted at across borders without need for re-testing before goods are allowed entry into a destination country.
21 laboratories testing food and food products, cosmetics, water, construction materials, chemical products and monitoring and measuring equipment calibration laboratories, are participating in the recognition scheme.
The recognition scheme is important to laboratories because it enhances technical capability and competence, Validity of test methods and provision of reliable data, Ensures consistency in operations, better internal and external communication, increased awareness regarding Quality, among employees, Improved performance due to motivation and confidence among employees, provides a foundation for Quality improvement, better control of laboratory operations and recognised laboratories’ results will be accepted across the EAC borders without the need for further testing.
Accurate test results on the other hand enable consumers access goods and services that are credible since the goods are tested from credible and recognized laboratories, as well as increased value for their money with no need for re-testing products on the market.
UNBS started the laboratory recognition scheme in 2016 with 5 laboratories recognized at the time to cater for the ever increasing demand for product testing before products are certified and placed on the market. Currently the laboratory recognition scheme has 15 laboratories recognized including 11 commercial and public laboratories and 4 labs inside manufacturing facilities.
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) is a statutory body responsible for developing, promoting and enforcing standards in protection of Health and Safety of the public and the Environment well as facilitating Fair trade and Competition.