Strengthening Patient Care and Diagnostic Innovation

Dr Amos Mbugua (left) presents a certificate of participation to Ms. Josephine Mwachao from Moi Voi County Referral Hospital

As healthcare evolves and new diseases emerge, it is essential for healthcare professionals to improve on their skills in order to address these challenges effectively. This then translates to improved patient care and subsequently better medical treatment outcomes.

To this end the Department of Medical Lab Science (MLS) at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) organized a five-day training on advanced histotechnology, cytotechnology and clinical chemistry techniques for diagnostic research and innovation from April 22nd to 26th at the main campus.

The aim of the training was to provide hands on skills for health professionals and students undertaking related courses. One of the key topics was tissue processing which is essential for working with biological samples such as those taken during a biopsy for examination or experiments.

Understanding the principles behind each tissue processing technique enables the lab technicians or researchers to recognize and troubleshoot potential issues that may arise during this processing which could affect the quality of the final tissue sections, and therefore give erroneous results.

Another important topic was Cytology techniques which are used in the collection and examination of fluid specimens under a microscope. The techniques including Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) and Cervical smear are vital in the diagnosis of various conditions including infections, inflammation, and cancers.

Mathew Kamau from JKUAT explains various tissue processing techniques to the workshop participants

Others such as the Buccal smear technique which utilizes cells from the lining cheek is used for DNA testing which can provide insights on an individual’s predisposition to certain diseases, and how one is likely to respond to certain drugs. It is also used in paternity tests and even identifying criminals during a forensic investigation.

According to Ms. Millicent Ogutu an expert on Medical Microbiology and Parasitology at MLS, while acquiring technical proficiency is pivotal, it must be coupled with a profound grasp of quality control principles. This synergy ensures the delivery of precise, timely, and comprehensive reports from the histology laboratory.

“Patients can only trust your facility if there is quality control. Your results should be reproducible in other labs and this can only be achieved by adhering to the processes you have learnt. This helps you identify and correct errors leading to reduced turnaround time and therefore cost-effective treatment,” explained Ms. Ogutu

During the training’s closing ceremony, the participants from different institutions including Moi Voi Referral Hospital, Nairobi Polytechnic and Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI) expressed their gratitude for the program. They emphasized how the networking opportunities provided during the training had significantly enriched their social capital within the scientific community.

Workshop participants

The postgraduate students noted that applying what they learned in theory to hands-on practice helped solidify their understanding and prepared them for their research projects. Meanwhile, for the practicing professionals, acquiring new skills in Histopathology equipped them with the background knowledge necessary to effectively operate automated processes in their daily work.

Dr. Amos Mbugua, Chairman of MLS, emphasized the department’s commitment to offer practical courses tailored to align with contemporary global paradigms like the One Health Approach. These encompass cutting-edge subjects such as artificial intelligence in healthcare, Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), Bioinformatics, and more.

The next training on other advanced techniques in the Medical Lab Sciences will be offered in September 2024.

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