A the 12th General Assembly meeting of the SADC Regional Laboratory Association (SRLA) held virtually on 27 May, the winner of the first-ever SRLA Award for the 2019 Best Performing Member State National Laboratory Association (MS-NLA) was announced. This new initiative recognizes the level of support given to laboratories in the Member State. The 2019 Best-Performing MS-NLA Award was awarded to the Association Congolaise des Laboratoires (ASCOLAB). ASCOLAB promoted to food, water and medical testing laboratories the benefits of accreditation to international standards as way to reduce trade costs and ensure foreign market access. ASCOLAB also offered training courses to improve the knowledge and skills of technical and managerial laboratory personnel, to enhance the reliability of test results supplied by Congolese conformity assessment bodies.
The Margaret Ngobeni Floating Trophy for the Best Performing MS-NLA is sponsored by the South African National Laboratory Association and named after Mrs. Margaret Ngobeni, who has played a prominent role in the SRLA Secretariat and SADC Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Coordination Committees.
The 2019 Runner-Up Trophy was awarded to the Associação de Laboratórios de Moçambique (ALM). The Awards were well received, despite having been awarded virtually. Depending on how the COVID-19 situation fares, they will be handed over during the 14th SRLA General Assembly meeting, scheduled for March 2021.
Since 2016, UNIDO ‘Strengthening the SADC Quality Infrastructure System’ (SQIS) project funded by the Government of Finland, has been supporting the SADC SRLA to provide strategic support to MS-NLA in offering sustainable services for their members, and strengthening testing laboratories’ capacities. The SRLA was established over a decade ago and is comprised of registered entities in 13 SADC Member States: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
For more information, contact Juan Pablo Davila (J.Davila [at] unido.org).