The Swaziland Health Laboratory Service (SHLS) falls under the Ministry of Health, and exist to support delivery of cost effective diagnosis and management of disease, monitoring of treatment, control of infectious diseases, and health promotion through research, and surveillance of disease trends at all levels of the health care system. In the next five years, the core health laboratory functions required within the MOH will be executed through the SHLS as leader of the laboratory sector, providing specialized services, and supporting all laboratories and testing sites to achieve certification and licensure to meet both National and International Standards.
Role and Essential core functions of the SHLS:
The overall role of the SHLS is:
The coordination of service delivery of equitable, acceptable and quality laboratory services through clinical, public health & surveillance, research & training.
In order to achieve this role, the SHLS strive to accomplish the following 11 core functions as part of its organizational capacity:
Disease prevention, control, and surveillance; provide accurate and precise analytical results in a timely manner for different diagnostic andanalytical functions for the assessment, and surveillance of infectious, communicable, genetic, andchronic diseases, and environmental exposures.
Integrated data management; serve as the focal point for accumulating, blending, and disseminating scientific information in support of public health programs.
Reference and specialized testing; serve as the reference microbiology laboratory for testing of unusual pathogens, and will maintain the capability to fully identify disease agents of public health significance, therapeutic drug testing (including human genetic markers of disease), and molecular testing of HIV and Malaria.
Environmental health and protection; strive to maintain capacity to conduct scientific analyses of environmental (air, water, and soil) and biological samples in order to identify and monitor potential threats to human health, while ensuring compliance with environmental regulations.
Food safety; establish capacity to analyze food specimens in order to detect, identify, and quantify toxic contaminants (e.g. pesticide residues, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds), as well as test specimens from persons, food, and beverages implicated in foodborne illness outbreaks to identify causes and sources.
Laboratory improvement and regulation; coordinate and promote quality assurance programs for private clinical and environmental laboratories through training, consultation, certification, and proficiency testing.
Policy development;develop standard policy for all health laboratories, including food, environmental, clinical, and research protocols.
Emergency response; provide laboratory support as part of national disaster preparedness plans for environmental or health emergencies.
Public health-related research; support public health related research, and collaborate with academic, private sector researchers, and other government agencies to adapt emerging technologies to public health laboratory techniques and information systems.
Training and education; oversee provision and facilitation of training courses and workshops for staff in both private and public sector laboratory, developing the knowledge and skills essential for providing quality services across medical, environmental, and public health laboratories.
Partnerships, donor relations and communication; develop and strengthen statewide partnerships among national and local public health leaders, managed care organizations, academia, and private industry to advance understanding of the critical role played by SHLS in supporting the core functions of public health.
A national network of highly efficient laboratories, providing high quality diagnostic, monitoring, surveillance , public health, and research services.
SHLS Mission Statement
The SHLS exists to support the delivery of universal and cost effective diagnosis and management of diseases, monitoring of treatment, control of infectious diseases, and health promotion through quality assured tests, research and surveillance provided by a motivated and professional staff.
To uphold an organizational and management structure that will ensure timely delivery of comprehensive effective, and efficient quality laboratory services that are, ,accessible and affordable to all.
SHLS Guiding Principles
Universal coverage of laboratory services
Universal access to quality laboratory services
Inclusive and equitable laboratory services delivery
Harmonized and standardized laboratory testing
Evidence based planning
Results based management
Partnership and coordinated service delivery
Professional and motivated staff
Contact Numbers – 2404 2190, 2404 2559
Head of department is Chief Laboratory Technologist – Sindisiwe Dlamini
National Laboratory Administrator – Michael Mndzebele