BY SAMIE WAIKORI
A new project was recently launched under the joint partnership of STDF, FAO and SIG during the one-day inception workshop on NPHL ISO 17025 accreditation.
The aim of the project is to develop the capacity of the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) in Honiara.
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) representative in Solomon Islands, Ms Rosemary Kafa said the project will ensure NPHL conducts microbiological testing on water and food products in compliance with international standards.
Saying it means testing results will be accepted by trading partners, especially the European Union.
She said the project will address technical knowledge gaps of the NPHL staff and provide improvements to the facility system.
Ms Kafa added that the project will look on procedures to ensure compliance with SPS import requirements of the EU and other trade partners to gain and maintain access to those markets.
She said the overall impact of the project includes ISO 17025 accreditation of the NPHL for microbiological testing to facilitate market access for trade with partners.
And to strengthen the public health role of the NPHL in monitoring and evaluating water and food safety by robust testing for pathogenic microorganism, Ms Kafa said.
She said the project comes in two components and they include strengthening NPHL to provide services and strengthening the sustainability of the lab to maintain international accreditation.
Ms Kafa said the funding for the project is USD606,000 and comes from MHMS USD112,800, FAO and IANZ assessments USD20,128, Donor and IANZ assessment 20,000 and FAO TCPf is USD100, 000.
She said FAO is very happy to assist SIG to strengthen capacity and sustainability of NPHL to acquire the ISO 17025 standard and further maintain the standard.
The process to establish the improvement of the NPHL into an accredited laboratory is expected to take almost two years.