HomeLIFEHEALTHA Look Into The Lucrative Clinical Laboratory Business In Kenya

A Look Into The Lucrative Clinical Laboratory Business In Kenya

With the rising demand for better care among Kenyans due to the increase in transmissible and other diseases, the government and other health stakeholders are eager to address the vulnerabilities in the medical field by pushing for, among them, restructuring national policies on patient care and construction of crucial infrastructures in the health system such as medical laboratories.

Medical labs are specialties that leverage clinical chemistry didactics and technology to collect and process specimens to detect underlying health issues and produce timely and reliable results for disease surveillance, control, and prevention measures.

As per the International Health Regulations (IHR) standards, laboratory reports are a crucial tool for doctors and public health specialists as they assist in diagnostic decision-making for an outcome-oriented medical practice.

Aside from advancing accurate clinical assessments and combating incorrect treatment that may lead to fatalities and the development of drug resistance amongst the populace, laboratory tests are critical elements when creating error-free health data for effective national planning by policymakers.

Laboratory systems in Kenya, classified as either public, private, or owned by international partners, conduct analysis on biomarkers like blood, urine, tissue samples, and body fluids like semen and saliva to identify a range of health conditions.

Medical laboratories are licensed and regulated by the Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Board (KMLTTB) with respect to the provisions of the Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS).

In a peer-reviewed article by Glob Health Action in August 21 that features laboratory practices test availability, costs, and turnaround time, private laboratories are the majority in the market, providing high-quality diagnostics than government facilities but at an expensive fee. However, it noted that many private laboratories withheld their test prices.

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“We noted that 85% of the private laboratories did not disclose test prices and turnaround times to their patients. There was a wide range of prices on several key tests, with private in-facility laboratories charging an average test price of 468% of the average test price in public laboratories across all 49 tests.

“We also found that many patients lacked key information regarding the tests they needed: 65% did not know the purpose of the test while 41% did not know the test price at all.”

This comprehensive report done in certified KMLTTB laboratories reflected issues affecting major public health initiatives, pinpointing that patients’ choices were subject to test costs, disregarding quality and clinician’s directions.

At the time of the study, KMLTTB had licensed 522 laboratories in Nairobi, and according to its website, there are over 1,500 registered laboratories in Kenya and over 15,000 practitioners.

To obtain a license to operate a laboratory in Kenya, a duly filled application form, a quality manual meeting normative standards, and a reference document is sent to the conformity assessment body KMLTTB. A response will be given within sixty days.

The annual accreditation fee of a laboratory in Kenya is Ksh192,500, exclusive of the first phase Ksh385,000 application cost and Ksh405,000 second schedule pre-assessment fee.

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