June 9, marks World Accreditation Day (WAD) as a global initiative jointly established by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) to raise awareness of the importance of accreditation-related activities. The inaugural WAD was celebrated in 2008. The theme for 2016 World Accreditation Day is “Accreditation: A global tool to support Public Policy” and focuses on the support accreditation delivers as a tool for all areas in the public sector – national and local government, regulators. As in previous years, the day was celebrated across the world with the hosting of major national events, seminars, and press and media coverage, being undertaken in order to raise awareness on the importance of accreditation and to communicate the value of accreditation to Government, Regulators and the leaders of the business community.
This year commemoration activities in the region ranged from seminars/conferences to press releases, television to radio interviews and street marches to targeted marketing visits. World Accreditation Day conferences were held in 5 countries namely: Botswana; Lesotho; Swaziland; Zambia and Zimbabwe. In preparation for the commemorations SADCAS provided all Nationbal Accreditation Focal points (NAFPs) with a press release, WAD conference template and text to a speech which was to be made by a SADCAS representative.
In Botswana WAD Commemorations were celebrated as a mini-conference with an exhibition in Jwaneng on the 9th of June 2016. The conference was attended by over 61 stakeholders from different conformity assessment bodies from the health, engineering and food processing sectors from both the private and public sectors as well various regulators. The conference was organized by the Department of Industrial Affairs, Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry under which the National Accreditation Focal Point for Botswana is housed. Prior to the WAD commemorations a press release on WAD was distributed to various media houses to promote the 2016 WAD. The commemorations were also promoted by holding a consultative meeting on the 24th of May 2016 at the Office of the District Commissioner (ODC) which was attended by the Jwaneng Town Leadership from ODC, Jwaneng Town Council, Tribal Administration, and Jwaneng Chamber of Commerce (JCC). Several follow-up meetings to update the District Commissioner`s office and the Jwaneng Town Mayor`s office were also conducted during the week to update them on the progress of the preparations.
The official opening of the conference was conducted by the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development- Honourable Frans Van Der Westhuizen who was introduced by the Jwaneng District Commissioner Ms. Kolobetso Sejakgomo, whilst the welcome remarks were conducted by Honourable Councilor Obed Monkge on behalf of the Jwaneng Town Mayor, His Worship Mr Tsietsi Oodira-Kwenje. The Key Note address titled “Accreditation: A Global Tool to Support Public Policy” was performed by the SADCAS Technical Manager Mrs Jeanne Françoise-Ranorovelo.
Part of the audience during the workshop.
This was followed by six presentations from the following institutions namely; National Food Control Laboratory (NFCL) by Ms. Esther Rugara; Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) by Mr Teddy Ditsabatho; Botswana National Veterinary Laboratory (BNVL) by Ms. Samantha Letsholo; Department of Occupational Health and Safety (DOH&S) by Mr Johannes Mosanawe; Botswana Bureau of Standards by Mr Pilot Masunga and Department of Clinical Services, Ministry of Health (MOH) by Ms. Dineo Motsisi. The closing remarks were delivered by Mr Gideon Mmolawa (Acting Director of Industrial Affairs). In the key note address Ms Ranorovelo explained that the challenges faced by governments and society in trade, health, consumer and environmental protection and security all call for the need for technical competence of conformity assessment bodies. She showed that accreditation is now increasingly accepted as the most transparent, non-discriminatory mechanism to assure competency of conformity assessment service providers. The use of accreditation by regulators and businesses in the world around us is expanding. She also indicated that the wider adoption of accreditation by regulators in our region is still an issue that requires attention and she also reiterated that SADCAS encourage Governments to embrace accreditation and use it as a tool to support public policy. In her presentation on the Role of accreditation in supporting food safety, Ms Rugara explained the role that the NFCL plays in the development and review of food regulations and food standards and monitoring compliance thereof. The NFCL is involved in the determination of microbiological and chemical/physical contamination as well as adulteration of food. Even though the NFCL is not yet accredited, the Laboratory realizes the importance of accreditation in promoting acceptance of results thus reducing duplication of tests and facilitating trade imports and exports. The NFCL is working towards accreditation.
This was followed by a presentation on the role of accreditation in supporting safe drinking in which Mr Teddy Ditsabatho from the WUC explained that safe drinking water could not be detached from accreditation. He indicated that there is an increasing demand from regulators and consumers on compliance to standards and technical regulations. He reiterated that it is imperative for all industry players to embrace accreditation as a primary tool for protection of public health and also for international recognition. In her presentation on the role of accreditation in supporting sustainable animal health, Ms Letsholo from the informed delegates that BNVL was accredited for 41 test methods covering Microbiology, Diagnostic, Chemistry, Molecular Biology, Serology, Virology, Pathology and Feed Microscopy. She further explained the benefits that Botswana and BNVL have realized from accreditation such as being able to clearly demonstrate the hygiene status of water used in abattoirs and confirm the effectiveness of their disinfection processes. She further highlighted that BNVL is a stakeholder in the implementation of various One Health Projects, e.g. Rabies and some of the accredited tests available at BNVL are used as tools to monitor various zoonotic and trans-boundary diseases, namely Avian Influenza, Foot and Mouth Disease and Newcastle Disease.
In his presentation on the role of accreditation in supporting occupational health and safety Mr Mosanawe, from the DOH&S explained that accreditation of safety & health services assures competency and guarantee quality. It therefore reduces risks associated with accidents which are costly to the organization and the national economy, provides a defense in litigation in courts of law especially when there is a case to answer and assists organization to maintain and improve the inspection management, and also enhances credibility and reputation of an organization. The BOBS representative Mr Pilot Masunga in his presentation on the role of accreditation in ensuring the quality of building materials highlighted that implementation of standards and accreditation can help central government, local government, regulators and the public sector to meet policy objectives by using accredited conformity assessment services. He also showed through various case studies instances where the public sector was shown to have utilized conformity assessment to meet public policy objectives around the world and locally. He urged Governments to embrace accreditation in public policies to ensure quality products and services. He however cautioned stakeholders on the challenges associated with accreditation such as: cost, being highly specialized and hence knowledge-intensive and that it requires time and dedication.
In the last presentation entitled Accreditation as a Strategy for the Competence of Medical Laboratories, Ms. Dineo Motsisi on behalf of Department of Clinical Services in the MOH, explained that public medical laboratories operate within the framework set by the “National Policy on Public Health Institutes”. She explained that the MOH use the following strategic initiatives to improve quality health care in the country such as: human resource management and development, improving and building adequate laboratory capacity. She explained that in line with its strategic objectives the MOH had achieved several milestones with Princess Marina, Sekgoma Memorial, Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital Laboratory, Nyangabgwe HIV Reference Laboratory and Botswana Harvard HIV Reference Laboratory having been accredited. She revealed that 7 more laboratories are working towards accreditation.
The conference was reasonably attended and the discussions were robust and lively with participants urging all CABs to be accredited in order to ensure the credibility of results. The participants also encouraged facilities accredited by SANAS to changeover to SADCAS now that SADCAS is signatory to the ILAC MRA for Testing and Calibration. Participants also encouraged the DOH&S to work towards using private accredited inspection bodies accredited to reduce the financial burden on Government with the Department having to undertake he inspections themselves for which they are still working towards accreditation. Participants lamented on some sub-standard materials used in construction projects (private and public) and further questioned on measures put in place to curtail this. The BOBS representative then explained the BOBS role in import inspections highlighting that not all products in the market are regulated and that there is a list of products that are regulated. He also clarified the difference between certification to ISO 9001 and accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025. The participants also requested the NAFP- Botswana to engage with public procurement entity, the PPADB for the recognition of accreditation in public procurement.
A total of 4 organizations exhibited and showcased their activities at the exhibition during the commemorations, namely; Lamworld Technologies, National Blood Transfusion Laboratory, National Drug Regulatory Unit and the Department of Energy. The Department of Energy and Lamworld Technologies explained their trade using a petroleum mobile testing laboratory, and a mobile calibration Laboratory, respectively, which gave a vivid practical experience on their activities. National Blood Transfusion Laboratory used brochures and presentations whilst the National Drug Regulatory Unit used various portable Testing kits, books/reference pharmacopeia, brochures and presentations to explain their laboratory activities.
SADCAS promotional materials were also distributed during the celebrations and pull up and teardrop banners were also put up at the venue to maximize the awareness on the World Accreditation Day. The 2016 WAD commemorations held in Jwaneng, Botswana was indeed a success.
This year DRC’s WAD celebrations focused on the support accreditation delivers as a tool to support national and local government and regulators. The NAFP used the emailing tool to reach out to more than 100 stakeholders in the country by circulating the French versions of WAD video and brochure. The press release was circulated to the UN Radio called OKAPI which has a wide listener base throughout the country. The press release was publicised in the various national languages. On 14 June 2016, her Excellence Mrs Néfertiti NGUDIANZA BAYOKISA KISULA, the Minister of Trade chaired the inaugural ceremony of a new mineral laboratory of Office Congolais de Contrôle ‘’OCC’’ located in Luisha Bungubungu near Likasi City – Haut Katanga Province. The event was attended by the Ministry’s Senior Officials, the NAFP –DRC and the Chairman of the National Laboratory Association of DRC, ASCOLAB.
In her speech during the event the acting Director General of OCC recognized the important role that accreditation plays as a global tool that helps to address local, national and international needs of governments. “Standards, conformity assessment and accreditation are all market-based tools that can be used by Government policy makers to deliver better regulation, environmental protection, public safety, fraud prevention, fair and efficient markets and public trust” she said . The laboratory plans to be accredited in 2017. SADCAS has accredited its first facility in DRC and at the same time 6 applications are under accreditation process by SADCAS.
The new OCC laboratory
In Lesotho WAD was celebrated on 29 June 2016 Prior to the celebrations, the office of the NAFP held a preparatory meeting together with members of the Lesotho Federation of Laboratories and Officers from the Government’s / Regulator’s Departments on 15 June 2016 during which a programme for the commemorations was decided upon. The WAD commemoration was attended by forty five (45) people from 21 organizations amongst them stakeholders from various Government ministries and regulators, private and public laboratories and the media. The Office of the Principal Secretary – Ministry of Trade and Industry presided on the official opening of the commemoration and thereafter the presentations were made by different organizations. The event was televised on TV Lesotho channel. One of the highlights of the event was the awarding of certificates 25 candidates who attended the ISO/IEC 17025 Standard Training and Auditing held in December 2015.
Commemorations in session
Various recommendations were made during the commemorations including the need for capacity development and the need for accreditation especially of CABs operating in the public domain including medical laboratories. Participants of the ISO/IEC 17025 training course held in December were called upon to implement what they had learnt and develop implementation programmes in their respective laboratories. All participants showed a remarkable enthusiasm which should result in significant developments towards accreditation in Lesotho.
In Madagascar, an article about the WAD was developed in French, and was published in Newsletter of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. For cost effectiveness, Madagascar intend to organize a ceremony to commemorate the World Accreditation Day together with the World Standards Day on October 14th 2016 in the west region of Madagascar.
Mozambique, commemorated WAD on the 9th of June 2016 once again through a press release which was published in Portuguese in the electronic media Horizonte and Jornal Fair Play Mozambique.
Swaziland joined the World and commemorated the WAD on the 29th of June, 2016. In line with the theme for 2016 WAD, the NAFP engaged the Cabinet, Principal Secretaries, Members of Parliament and Regulators for the commemoration of the World Accreditation Day. Preparations started off in April with the sensitization of the Cabinet on WAD, the importance of accreditation and the role accreditation plays to policy makers. This was done through a Cabinet Paper. The WAD was then held at Sibane hotel in the form of a breakfast meeting and the event started at 7:30am and ended at 9.00 o’clock.
Participants at the Breakfast Commemorations
A total of 80 people attended the breakfast seminar. The Programme Director, Georgina Shabangu gave the opening remarks emphasizing the importance of the WAD to the Swazi Nation at large. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Minister was unable to come and he was then represented by Ms Phindile Priscilla Dlamini, the Chief Quality Systems Administrator. A presentation on how accreditation supports public policy was delivered by the 1st NAFP Officer, Ms Sthembiso Sybil Dlamini. The event was a success and it ended up at a high note with most delegates still longing to hear more on accreditation. The event was widely publicized before and after in the Swazi Observer and Swazi Times.
Zambia commemorated the 2016 World Accreditation Day by undertaking the following activities:
- Launch Statement by Honorable Margret D. Mwanakatwe, MP, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry on the eve of the 2016 World Accreditation Day;
- Publication of the Press release in the Zambia Daily Mail Newspaper on 9 June, 2016; and
- Half day stakeholder workshop held on 9 June 2016.
The workshop which was held at Southern Sun Hotel in Lusaka was officially opened by Mr Tobias Mulimbika, Director- Industry in the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. In his opening remarks, the Director welcomed all stakeholders to the workshop and requested all participants to actively participate in the commemoration of the 2016 World Accreditation Day. He went on further to thank UNIDO- Trade Capacity Building Framework for Zambia and Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) for the valuable role they have played in facilitating the commemoration of the 2016 World Accreditation Day. A series of presentations were made starting with the role of SADCAS the role of SADCAS in supporting public policy by Mr. Manuel Mutale, Executive Director, Zambia Bureau of Standards and SADCAS Board Member. This was followed by the 2016 video on WAD and browsing through the public sector website by Mr. Moses Ngosa, 1st NAFP, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. A representative of the National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO), Mr Curtis Muleya, then presented on the role of accreditation in supporting safe drinking water followed by a presentation by Dr Obrian Kabunda from the Centre for Veterinary Research Institute on the role of accreditation in supporting sustainable animal health. The second session started off with a presentation on the role of accreditation in ensuring the quality of building materials by Ms. Wendy Nambule Mukape, National Construction Council (NCC). This was followed by a presentation on the role of accreditation as a strategy for the competence of medical laboratories by Mr Davy Nsama, Director Clinical Services, and Ministry of Health. The last presentation was on the role of accreditation in supporting occupational health and safety by Mr Kakoma Chivunda, Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
From left to right: Ms Himba Cheelo, CEO, ZWMA, Chief Technical Advisor for UNIDO –Trade Capacity Building Framework for Zambia, Dr Elsie Meintjies, Mr Manuel Mutale, Executive Director, ZABS and SADCAS Board Member and Mr Tobias Mulimbika, Director Industry, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry
After each session there were lively discussions on the topics covered and a general discussion on all the presentations was ably chaired Mr Edward Mbuzi, Zambia National Laboratories Association, The meeting noted that there is need for laboratories to ensure they are accredited as this enhances the work of various regulatory bodies and also instills a sense of confidence and trust in the citizens, that conformity to accreditation standards enhances regional and international trade and that the level of participation by industry was very good and UNIDO was impressed by the strides Zambia has made in the accreditation process. The participants raised concerns on block standards being used in construction and suggested there be a mandatory standard. It was also recommended that the National Construction Council find ways to engage Local government on residential construction to ensure structures and materials used conform to the recommended standards in order to safeguard lives as well as property. The need to sensitize organizations on the process of accreditation which would also help in knowledge gap surrounding accreditation was emphasized and it was recommended that the NCC and NWASCO be assisted in achieving their objectives regarding accreditation.
The sessions were interspaced with traditional dance group who also performed a play based on the 2016 WAD theme. The closing remarks were given by Dr. Elsie Meintjies, Chief Technical Advisor, UNIDO.
The half day workshop was successful and it is therefore, prudent that the Ministry makes a follow-up on the required actions as stipulated in the recommendations. Further, it was extremely heartening to experience an entire industry coming together to commemorate the 2016 World Accreditation Day and to note that the Centre for Veterinary Research Institute has applied for accreditation.
Zimbabwe commemorated 2016 WAD on 9 June in style. They took WAD commemorations to the streets with a march starting from Mukwati Building where the National Accreditation Focal Point – Zimbabwe is housed throughout the centre of Harare City and ending up at the venue of the commemorations a tent pitched at the Causeway Post Office. Stakeholders amongst them regulators, conformity assessment bodies, government representatives, captains of industry and consumers all joined in the march donned in their WAD T shirts including the SACAS CEO Mrs Maureen P Mutasa. Over 200 people participated in the march including the police and drum majorettes. The T shirts were provided by the NAFP - Zimbabwe. The march was led by 2 NAFP Officials holding a banner with the WAD theme on it. Behind them was the Police Band playing with their instrumental music with drum majorettes swinging and dancing to the music. Behind the drum majorettes were stakeholders all cheerfully marching throughout the city centre. At the back were officials holding another banner of the NAFP. The march attracted a lot of attention on the streets. The march was a good 6km took an hour from 10:00 to 11:00 hours at which time the speeches were delivered.
Stakeholders donned their WAD T shirts just before the march
The welcome remarks were given by Mrs Eve Gadzikwa Director General Standards Association of Zimbabwe followed by a key note address by Honourable Mike Bimha, the Minister of Trade and Commerce who in his speech noted the benefits of accreditation and the progress that the SADC region had made in its institutional development to address non- tariff barriers to trade amongst SADC Member States and between SADC and other regional trading blocs as well as to promote quality and accreditation infrastructure in the region. He reiterated his Ministry’s commitment to promoting accreditation in Zimbabwe and outlined the efforts made by the NAFP – Zimbabwe which is housed in his Ministry which has resulted in uptake in accreditation with Zimbabwe having the highest number of facilities accredited by SADCAS and the highest number of applications under process.
This was followed by an address by Mrs Maureen P Mutasa the Chief Executive Officer of SADCAS who first explained the relationship between standards and accreditation, then outlined how accreditation can support public policy citing many examples of how accreditation has been used to support public policy globally narrowing down to the region and making reference to the Public Sector Assurance website and highlighting the role that SADCAS has played in those SADC Member States that are serviced by SADCAS. She then concluded her address by saying that the use of accreditation in supporting public policy in the world around us is expanding. Whilst a number of regulators in the region, have started to use accreditation effectively to support their regulatory and policy objectives many more are not aware of accreditation and are therefore at risk of creating duplicate or costly in house systems. There are no requirements in public policies for the use of accredited conformity assessment services and furthermore there are Government policy makers that do not possess sufficient information which can lead to incorrect application or specification of accreditation requirements. “The wider adoption of accreditation in supporting public policy in our region is still an issue requiring attention” she said. She therefore encouraged governments to embrace accreditation and use it as tool to support public policy.
Closing remarks were given by Mrs Dzimwasha Director Standards in the Ministry of Trade and Commerce who thanked the NAFP for organizing the commemorations, the police band the drum majorettes and all who made the commemorations such a success. The Director of ceremonies Mr D Train then invited all to lunch and drinks courtesy the NAFP – Zimbabwe. Everything was very well organized and went according to programme. Police clearance was obtained before the march thus March was carefully controlled by the Police with an ambulance on stand - by. Thank goodness no one needed medical attention during or after the march.