National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) is a public health facility comprising of seven (7) reference laboratory units that provide referral services linking National, International and County laboratories. In its current form, the NPHL is mandated to perform specialized testing for priority infectious and non-communicable diseases, laboratory-based disease surveillance, and to provide quality assurance for the public health laboratory network.
In its new role as a division under the Department of Preventive and Promotive Health, NPHL has a clear mandate that grants it stability and helps establish the right leadership with a functional management team. The implementation of its strategic plan will enhance and strengthen the planning and resource mobilization efforts for the institution.
The NPHL operates within the guidance of various policy and strategy intents of Kenya government including the Kenya Health Policy (2014 – 2030) outlining drive of the Country towards attaining the overall health aspirations of the people of Kenya informed by the Kenya’s Vision 2030, the Constitution of Kenya (2010) and the global health commitments included in the IHR (2005) and the WHO/AFRO Maputo Declaration 2008 on strengthening of laboratory systems.
In this context the World Health Organization (WHO) through its African Regional Office (WHO/AFRO) developed the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR, 1998)7 strategy, an integrated approach to streamline disease surveillance and response.
The major specific goals of NPHL are to strengthen County-level surveillance and response for priority diseases, to integrate surveillance with laboratory support, and to translate information generated from surveillance and laboratory data into specific public health actions, which are also three key NPHL areas of mandate. Further, WHO adopted the International Health Regulations in 2005, which came into force on June 15, 2007 and required all States parties to meet minimum national core capacities for surveillance and response.
The laboratory capacity requirements to comply with the IHR mandate are described in Laboratory Capacity Requirements for International Health Regulations and Their Implementation in the WHO African Region (2013) and define six pillars of core laboratory services capacity: -
| Coordination of Laboratory Services,
|| Quality Management Systems,
|| Biosafety and biosecurity,
| Capacity for priority diseases and events,
|| Specimen Collection and Transportation,
|| Laboratory-based surveillance and public health
Public Health Laboratory Challenges: -
The leading causes of death and disability in Kenya include: HIV/AIDS, conditions arising during perinatal periods, Lower respiratory infections, Malaria, Tuberculosis, and Diarrheal diseases. Together, these diseases represent a huge burden on the health and well-being of the population contributing to morbidity, disability, and mortality. Besides the implication and direct effect on individuals and families, the social and economic impact on society and the nation at large is enormous.
To mitigate these impacts, governments often take responsibility and implement measures to protect and promote the health of their citizens through development of efficient, effective and equity oriented health system. Laboratories form an essential and critical part of this system as they support clinical diagnosis as well as confirmation of etiologies of public health emergencies.