Standard set for sites offering HIV, other tests

The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) recently developed requirements for Point of Care Testing sites (POCT) to facilitate the expansion of such sites and enable monitoring by regulatory agencies.

According to a press release the GNBS said the standard “GYS 268:2007” specifies the requirements for the operation of POCT sites with special requirements for Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) and the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) sites. The requirements of this standard are applicable when testing is carried out at POCT, VCT, PMTCT and community testing sites.

However, it does not cover home testing or self testing sites.

The standard promotes efficient management of testing sites which may or may not be done at established laboratories that test persons for sexually transmitted and other diseases.

It also mandates that the testing personnel, equipment and the method of testing for diseases all comply with key requirements to ensure that accurate results are obtained and it covers management requirements including organisation and management, quality management systems, documentation requirements and control, resolution of complaints and identification of non-conformities.

The standard includes technical requirements for determining the competence of personnel, accommodation and environmental conditions, defines categories of laboratory equipment, personnel, accommodation and environmental conditions, defines categories of laboratory equipment pre-examination techniques, examination and post-examination procedures and the reporting of results. Procedures for record keeping, taking corrective and preventive actions and for carrying out internal audits are also addressed.

The GNBS said all laboratories, clinics and other institutions that offer the said tests are urged to acquire this standard and implement it to ensure that they are providing correct and reliable results and quality services to the public. Copies of the standard are available at the GNBS’ Technical Standards Information Unit located at the National Exhibition Complex in Sophia.

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