The safety laboratory has been established in 2000 and is the only CAP (College of American Pathologists) accredited laboratory in Tanzania. The main aim of the safety laboratory is to serve as a research laboratory in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. In its function as a research laboratory the Main Laboratory performs diagnostic and follow up blood tests for all studies conducted at NIMR-MMRC. It has a total of six different sections namely: sample processing, hematology, coagulation, biochemistry, serology, viral load and the immunology unit. Through its infrastructure/sections the lab is capable of covering a wide range of tests such as HIV, HBV, HCV, HSV2 and Syphillis serology through ELISA and Western blot methods, HIV 1 Viral Load testing (HIV 1 Monitor test, Roche), automated biochemistry testing (Roche Cobas Integra), hematology automated (Sysmex,XT1800i) and manual, clotting tests (Start4 Diagnostica Stago) and Immunophenotyping CD4/CD8 (BD Facs Calibur and CANTO II).
The lab has been involved in over 20 studies at the international standard level through its partnership with Mbeya Referal Hospital, the Mbeya regional medical office, Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at University of Munich and U.S. Military HIV Research Program among others. Because of the lab’s uncompromised international standards, it has attracted many researchers inside and outside the country to learn or collaborate. Many higher learning institutions are also sending their students to our facilities for practical training.
Almost all positions in the laboratory are covered by Tanzanian personnel, giving emphasis to local capacity building. In addition, two of our team members are receiving training while a number of members have already received further training at Advanced Diploma, Bachelor and PhD levels with financial support from the centre.
Currently, the lab has 30 members of which, 7 are research scientists. The rest include 20 Lab Technologists and 3 Lab Assistants.