SVG to draft national lab policy
March 27, 2015
SVG to draft national lab policy

Steps are being taken to initiate the development of a draft national laboratory policy which can be used to inform and guide operations within the sector in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

For two days this week, lab technicians and other officials within the health sector attended a workshop {{more}} to identify the common gaps and challenges currently impacting the medical and public health laboratory services in St Vincent and the Grenadines and to draft a national policy that articulates the Government’s expectation for the operation of the national laboratory services.

Chief laboratory technologist Claudette Laidlow-Williams, in opening remarks, noted that all major health players around the world have recognized the need for building sustainable laboratory networks locally in order to meet the medical lab needs of the population.

“In our national health sector… one of the weaknesses in our policy environment is the almost complete absence of documentation. Someone may enquire about the policy for a particular situation and get a response … if that person is fortunate to speak with the right person. Thus, it is not difficult to understand the many dangers of and confusion created by unwritten policies,” said Luis de Shong, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment.

de Shong stressed the importance of improving the policy environment within the health sector and noted that the efficiency and effectiveness of services offered can be negatively affected by the interpretation of unwritten policies, leading to wastage, demotivated staff, negative interpersonal conflicts and, ultimately, dissatisfied patients or clients.

According to deShong, another shortcoming in the policy environment is the lack of enforcement.

“Although we are taking this critical step to improve our policy environment by documenting the policies, it cannot end there.

Our policies should also have the requisite legal support to ensure enforcement. I would like to be thought-provoking here and say that perhaps policies should also include policy statements to address the failure to enforce.”

Wendy Kitson-Piggott of the Caribbean Med Labs Foundation facilitated the workshop, which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday.