The Yes We Care Programme of the Baobab Towers was in a giving mood in May, when it made a monetary donation to the Barbados Alzheimer’s Association.
President of the Association, Mrs. Pamelia Brereton, who accepted the cheque on behalf of the cause from the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), a regional organisation on the Second Floor of the Towers, noted she was particularly grateful for the gift.
She said times were hard and especially so for charitable organisations which were struggling to find sources of funds for various projects.
“We greatly appreciate it because things are not as easy as it seems out there and we appreciate anyone and everyone that comes forward to assist the association. We have big dreams but little money, but the organisation will continue because it means so much to me personally. When you have had or seen the situations, that is the only time you understand why people push so hard,” she said.
While noting that this particular donation had not been directed at any particular project, she reminded that there were two ongoing ones of key importance to the association. “We are still struggling to make money for the day care, even the one cent drive was not enough to do what we were hoping for. Some people think we are millionaires from that, but they seem to forget it’s just one cent.”
Yes We Care volunteer with CROSQ, Office Assistant Mrs. Maureen Carrington, who presented the cheque along with CROSQ’s Accounts Manager, Mr. Mohan Nandwani, said it was a pleasure for the organisation to have selected this month’s recipient for the donation.
Each month participants in the building’s Yes We Care programme select a charity to present funds collected from the programme’s participating agencies and organisations within Baobab Towers. This month it was the Alzheimer’s Association, and CROSQ’s turn to choose the recipient.
A major consultation on the quality of goods and services in Antigua and Barbuda on April 12, 2016, is expected to be the first step toward the establishment of a National Quality Awards for the country.
In a process being led by the Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards (ABBS), and facilitated by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), stakeholders from across sectors including tourism, health, agriculture, business, as well as quality infrastructure development, will gather at the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute for a day-long consultation on quality-related matters.
The objective of the consultation is to examine the feasibility of introducing a National Quality Awards to the country that will recognise companies and organisations for their dedication to running quality focussed operations and services, and their commitment to producing high quality products for the country and global markets. It will be addressed and opened by Minister of Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Honourable, Mr. E. P. Chet Greene at 9 a.m. The consultation runs until 4 p.m.
It is funded through the European Union’s 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) programme, being implemented in the Caribbean by CROSQ, alongside INDOCAL in the Dominican Republic, and managed by the German Metrology Institute (PTB).
Mrs. Dianne Rodrigues, Director of the ABBS, which is serving as host for this meeting, noted that "the thrust of the Bureau is to offer services that can help promote a culture of quality in the country, and as such this dialogue was a step in that direction".
“We are very interested in what the various sectors have to say about this programme on which we are embarking, and we are hoping that stakeholders can see the value in what we are trying to create and actively get on board and support the process. This initiative will be very beneficial for us all,” said the Director.
"A National Quality Award could help improve the standard and quality of products and services being offered in Antigua and Barbuda, and that is for both the local and foreign markets. It has the potential as well, to be a major branding initiative for the country which is focussing its attention on improving industries and sectors like tourism, agriculture, and health services. One way of getting the kind of growth a country would want is to look at the quality of what is on offer," said Ms. Latoya Burnham, Technical Officer, Communication and Information with CROSQ.
The CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) was on hand recently to celebrate with Eureka Medical Laboratories (EML), as the laboratory rang in its 21st year of operation by becoming the first such medical company to receive the ISO 15189 Accredited status, in Guyana.
In the ceremony held just a week ago in the South American country, CEO of EML, Mr. Andrew Boyle told the gathering of dignitaries that included Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, and staff, that it had been a long but worthwhile journey.
“The accreditation road was costly, rough and long but today we have reaped the benefits of our hard work. What a lovely and profound feeling of satisfaction that was! It is now that the work has commenced,” said the EML head.
Technical assistance was provided by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), through the technical implementation by the German National Metrology Institute’s (PTB) Regional Quality Infrastructure (RQI) 4 Project.
CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) CEO, Mr. Deryck Omar, whose regional organisation lent technical assistance to the lab to reach the accreditation, told the audience: “Tonight’s launch and celebration of the Eureka Medical Laboratories’ accreditation to the ISO 15189 standard for quality and competence in medical laboratories, bears testament to the development assistance and cooperative mechanisms of the Caribbean Cooperation for Accreditation (CCA) Scheme as we are recognising the accreditation of a second laboratory in Guyana within a mere nine months; the other laboratory being a testing laboratory – the Guyana Rice Development Board Central Laboratory.”
The CCA Scheme brings professional expertise to labs looking to get accredited, utilising personnel from the region’s quality infrastructure institutions. In the case of EML, the guidance was provided by the Guyana National Bureau of Standards, whose laboratory certification programme to the GYS 170 standard, provided a stepping stone to accreditation.
Additional technical assistance to EML through CROSQ came from the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) programme.
Congratulating EML on the achievement, Mr. Omar further remarked: “CROSQ is delighted to extend sincere congratulations to the Eureka Medical Laboratories for this remarkable achievement of being the very first medical laboratory in Guyana to be accredited to the ISO 15189 standard. This accreditation also represents the first medical laboratory to be accredited by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) outside of Jamaica and the first medical laboratory to achieve accreditation through the CCA Scheme.”
CEO of JANAAC, Mrs. Sharonmae Shirley underscored the importance of this step to Guyana, as well as the Caribbean.
“This is important not only for trade but it is also important for tourism. It is important for health. The medical tourism industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. The EML has now enhanced Guyana’s reach into this lucrative market.”
Minister Norton commenting on the company’s successful five-year journey to accreditation, noted that this was evidence of the quality medical service available in the country.
“For too often we take it for granted that all we need to supply is service and we forget about the quality. Eureka has proven it wrong. ... While I applaud you for the achievement that you have made, I urge you not to become complacent, but to continually improve on and expand your laboratory service,” the minister urged.
Representative of PTB, Mrs. Anett Matbadal congratulated the lab on the success, as well as the GNBS in the role it played in assisting the process.
"I am glad Eureka Medical Laboratories has achieved this and I want to acknowledge the great help that GNBS was providing, because I still remember when CROSQ together with PTB was starting to develop the CCA Scheme in the region with two national bodies in Jamaica and Trinidad, and 15 National Accreditation Focal Points in the region ... We hope this accreditation will serve you well and open markets for you and in the name of PTB I wish you all the best for the future," said Matbadal.
We, the National HIV Programme Managers and Laboratory Managers of countries in the Caribbean Region, in collaboration with CARPHA, PANCAP, CDC/PEPFAR, WHO/PAHO, UNAIDS and other partners, at the meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, from 20th-23rd October, 2014 to review HIV care and treatment targets and discuss ways to improve access and quality of HIV-related point of care testing (POCT):
Recognize that the Caribbean Region initiated discussions on the new UNAIDS targets (90-90-90), to lay the groundwork to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2020.
Recognize that in order to break through existing barriers to effective use of HIV related diagnostics and to accelerate the end of AIDS, the UNAIDS and other partners recently joined forces to spearhead the launch of the Diagnostics Access Initiative, that optimizes the use of innovative laboratory diagnostic tools and strategies, as critical to achieving the first and third targets.
Recognize that lack of quality assured laboratory diagnostics can continue to undermine public health, thus impacting human and social rights.
Recognize that although countries in the Caribbean Region have made tremendous progress in improving access and quality of HIV testing to meet treatment targets, there are still significant gaps to be filled, particularly in the area of quality diagnostics to meet the targets.
Acknowledge that the recently developed UNAIDS, CDC/PEPFAR and WHO/PAHO documents titled ‘Framework for Development of Policy for implementing Quality-Assured POCT’ and ‘Guidance for improving the Quality of HIV-related POCT’ will help to address the gaps.
Resolve to revise and adapt the above mentioned documents to the Caribbean context.
Resolve to create a Caribbean Technical Working Group (TWG) on Access and Quality of HIVrelated POCT to facilitate the implementation of these documents and mechanisms for the collection and analysis of data to inform progress towards achieving the targets.
Call for countries to allocate resources for improved access to quality assured HIV-related POCT to achieve consistently accurate and reliable patient test results to meet the 90-90-90 targets.
Call for countries to acknowledge that ensuring access to high quality HIV-related testing is a human right for all residents in the Caribbean Region and will yield tremendous public health benefits.
Deryck M.S. Omar, chief executive officer for the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality, has joined the ASTM International board of directors for a three year term commencing January 2016
ASTM made the announcement recently on its website, where more information can be found about the appointment. http://www.astmnewsroom.org/default.aspx?pageid=3906
Saint Lucia this afternoon put quality infrastructure, and metrology in particular, on the map in a big way, when the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards was awarded the prestigious Award for Excellent Achievements in Legal Metrology in Developing Countries’ from the International Organisation of Legal Metrology (OIML).
The award was accepted on behalf of Saint Lucia by Head of Metrology at the SLBS, Mr. Anselm Gittens at the Inter-American System for Metrology (SIM) General Assembly being held in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The small CARICOM country, and Member State of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), is the first Caribbean island and the smallest country in the seven-year history of the award, to receive this accolade.
Although the SLBS is not a member of OIML, Mr. Gittens’ work and involvement in the international organisation has been well known for many years. An invitation has been extended for him to attend the next meeting of CIML (International Committee of Legal Metrology), which is the functional decision-making body of OIML, to present on the work done to develop legal metrology in Saint Lucia.
The OIML is the world’s premiere body for legal metrology and is an intergovernmental treaty organisation which was established to develop model regulations, standards and related documents for use by legal metrology authorities and industry. Legal metrology, which traditionally was called weights and measures, is the application of legal requirements to measurements and measuring instruments.
The award recognises what the OIML says is “steady and sustained progress in the area of legal metrology over the last 22 years”. It noted the significant contribution of the SLBS to legal metrology at the national and Caribbean levels despite Saint Lucia being a Small Island Developing State.
About the achievement, Director of the Bureau, Dr. Mkabi Walcott recently expressed the organisation’s appreciation for the recognition from such a prestigious international body, noting that such an award was the result of the commendable work of the staff of the Metrology Department over the past 22 years.
CROSQ congratulated the SLBS and Saint Lucia on the achievement, noting, “Whilst we were all well aware of the diligent efforts of the SLBS to develop a strong legal metrology system, it is fabulous to now see these energies being translated into international recognition, both for St. Lucia and by extension, the Caribbean Community.”