Private entities interested in conducting COVID-19 tests to participate in the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation’s Pre-Approval Accreditation Programme (JANAAC PAAP) are being asked to submit applications.
Target groups include private laboratories and point of care testing facilities—doctors’ offices, health centres, pharmacies.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of JANAAC, Sharonmae Shirley, said that the pre-approval programme aims to fast-track the accreditation of entities desirous of providing COVID-19 tests.
She noted that the facility is part of the Government of Jamaica’s strategic response to the pandemic.
“The main goal of the JANAAC PAAP is to increase stakeholder confidence in Jamaica’s COVID-19 testing capacity, assuring sustained quality health outcomes and to strengthen the national COVID-19 prevention and containment strategies,”
Mrs Shirley was addressing a virtual press briefing on the accreditation of private laboratories providing COVID-19 testing, hosted by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce in association with JANAAC on Thursday (January 21),
The move comes in the wake of recent requirements by the United Kingdom (JK), the United States (US) and Canada that travellers must have a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter their jurisdictions. This has led to increased demand for testing for the virus locally.
Noting that the international standards that govern medical and testing laboratories are “lengthy”, Mrs Shirley said in the first instance, the JANAAC PAAP will fast-track the accreditation process so that entities are required to meet 12 minimum requirements.
“We are opening this up for anyone, who has a business interest, but we are saying that you must meet these 12 minimum requirements. When you meet these minimum requirements, what we are going to require of you is that over time, you will transition into the full accreditation programme where you will meet the full requirements of the standard and be fully accredited,”
She also emphasised the importance of accreditation in order to ensure that private testing facilities meet the required technical standards for quality assurance.
“Right now, if we can assure that the entities are legal, have competent staff and the requisite facilities and reagents, that they can safeguard the quality of the equipment used to conduct tests and they can put reporting mechanisms in place, that will assure the quality (and consistency) of the results coming out of these facilities. This, we believe, will safeguard the entire process,”
“We want to ensure that the quality outcomes are fit for the purpose that they are used for,” she stressed.