The Medical Laboratory and Clinical Scientists Council of Zimbabwe ( MLCSCZ) is a statutory body established in terms of the Health Professions Act Chapter 37:19 of 2001 and is responsible for the licensing of laboratory personnel, ensures that standards of training for laboratory personnel are appropriate for the academic, clinical training, and that competency-based examinations are conducted by approved national certifying institutions. Medical Laboratory personnel are expected to participate in continuing professional education programs (CPD). MLCSCZ through the Practice Control Committee ensures that new laboratories are compliant to minimum conditions for registration with the Health Professions Authority.
Practice Control requirements
Due to the complexity of laboratory medicine and its importance in quality patient care, it is imperative that medical laboratory personnel possess the qualifications necessary to ensure their professional competence. The Licensing and certification of programs such as State Certified Medical Laboratory Technicians and Cytologists sets minimum standards for medical laboratory personnel working in clinical laboratories in Zimbabwe; they also help ensure quality laboratory testing and proper patient care.
To, assist improving laboratory test quality and maintain laboratory personnel performance and competency, MLCSCZ requires that all Medical Laboratory personnel should acquire minimum CPD points annually as a prerequisite for issuance of an annual Practicing certificate.
Education and Liason
MLSCSZ ensures continuous monitoring and review of standards of training for purposes of certification, licensing, and practice requirements. These standards must include the following essential elements: an appropriate academic degree, acceptable clinical training or work experience; passage of an examination offered by an approved national certification organization; appropriate continuing competency standards; and compulsory internship program at designated Health Institutions in Zimbabwe.
All foreign trained applicants are expected to write and pass a Council preregistration examination to ascertain the standards of training acquired externally.
A government or private entity can provide certification on MLCSCZ approved curricula. Certification can be in the form of degrees, diplomas and certificates.
Licensing (Practicing certificates)
A practicing certificate refers to the right bestowed by a MLCSCZ to engage in a legally defined occupational scope of practice, this form of occupational regulation prohibits non-licensed individuals from providing certain services. Its intent is to “assure the public that practitioners have met the qualifications and minimum competencies required for practice.”
Justification for Licensing of Laboratory Personnel
The MLCSCZ regulates all laboratory testing (including research) performed on patients in the Zimbabwe. MLCSCZ provides guidelines for a number of important patient protections, such as laboratory personnel standards, proficiency testing (PT), quality assessment and control requirements, and cytology testing standards.
The level of personnel skill and training required by the MLCSCZ regulations depends on the complexity level of the testing performed. Complexity levels include waived, moderate and high complexity. In order to perform laboratory testing of waived, moderate or high complexity tests, laboratory personnel must satisfy minimum standards for the level of testing they perform. The MLCSCZ personnel qualifications for the three categories of tests are:
Waived Testing: ( Point of care devices )
Certificate of competence is required for other medical health care workers as approved by Council eg nurses, nurse counsellors, etc
Moderate Complexity Testing:
Minimum requirement is a certificate or diploma or equivalent and documented training for the testing performed
High Complexity Testing:
Minimum requirement is a University Degree, Post Graduate Diplomas issued by a MLCSCZ accredited or approved clinical laboratory training program, or (2) six months laboratory training in the specialty(ies) in which the individual performs high complexity testing.