Who are we?
Chitungwiza Central Hospital laboratory is one of the only five (5) government central laboratories in the country. The Laboratory is a centre for diagnostic laboratory excellence and is composed of the following divisions; Biochemistry, Haematology, Microbiology(Parasitology,Bacteriology), Blood bank and serology.
The Laboratory receives specimens from inpatients and outpatients from Chitungwiza urban and surrounding rural communities.
Our Role in Public Health
The laboratory is vital in its contribution to the provision of cost effective quality health care. Laboratory results provide the only scientific approach to patient management, allowing the clinician to make accurate diagnosis and rationalize drug use.
The Laboratory plays a pivotal role in the screening ,diagnosis of diseases and monitoring of patient treatment. In addition it also helps in epidemiological surveillance and control of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, diarrhoeal diseases and other communicable diseases.
In line with the lab’s role in beefing up manpower in the country’s Laboratories, Chitungwiza Central hospital is the only centre for the training of State Certified Medical Laboratory Technicians (SCMLT).The laboratory offers internship and attachment for undergraduate students who are doing Medical Laboratory Science from University of Zimbabwe and Africa University.
There are fourteen (14) professionals consisting if nine (9) Medical laboratory Scientists and five (5) Medical laboratory Technicians who are registered by the Medical laboratory and Clinical Scientist Council of Zimbabwe.
Complementary staff includes a secretary and three (3) junior employees. The Laboratory is managed by Mrs. A Nehowa who is deputised by Mr. B T Nyakuedzwa. Overally the Lab division is headed by Professor E. Gomo.
What we do
The Lab provides both routine and emergency laboratory services 24 hours a day.
Haematology –Routine and emergency full blood counts with a five part differential count and coagulation assays for patients with bleeding disorders are done in this department. Special assays such as sickle screen and bone marrow examination are also available on sickle cell anaemia patients and cancer diagnosis respectively. We also do CD4 counts for our clients to enable initiation and monitoring of Antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Immunohaematology –Performs Blood grouping and Compatibility testing of blood for patients in need of blood transfusion who include maternity mothers, road traffic accident victims and anaemic patients among others. Apart from blood units the Lab also supplies other blood products such as fresh frozen plasma for hypodaemic patients, platelets for patients with thrombocytopaenia (low platelet count), therapeutic anti-D (Rhogum) for rhesus negative mothers to prevent haemolytic disease of the new born (HDN) as well as anti-haemophiliac factor for haemophilia patients. Routine ABO and Rhesus blood grouping is also done for antenatal clinic (ANC) mothers to screen for Rhesus negative mothers and consequently make proper antenatal preparations.
Biochemistry – Patients with hepatitis and other liver disorders are evaluated by the liver function tests done in this department. The panel of liver function tests done includes Bilirubin (direct and total), ALT, AST, ALP, GGT, total protein and albumin. These tests are also done when monitoring patients on ART. We also do Urea and electrolytes (Sodium, Potassium and Chloride) for patients due for theatre, to assess renal function as well as for dialysis patients.
For patients with heart problems cardiac function tests are done. Also done in the biochemistry is glucose for patients with carbohydrate metabolism disorders such as diabetes. Cerebrospinal fluid biochemistry which include glucose, proteins and globulins is done to aid in the diagnosis of meningitis and other bacterial infections. The lab also does urine chemistry to assess renal function. The other tests done in this department include fertility, thyroid hormones,cancers markers,Vitamin b12 and folate assays and ferritin.
Bacteriology –Culture and susceptibility testing is done on urine, stool, swabs, CSF blood and other body fluids. These help in the diagnosis, correct drug administration and epidemiological surveys. Bacteriology is also responsible for the hospital infection control, investigation of food poisoning and fertility studies on semen as well as TB diagnosis.
Parasitology – The department is mainly involved in the identification of blood and intestinal parasites as well as ectoparasites for the screening, diagnosis and monitoring of parasitic diseases such as malaria, schistosomiasis, amoebic dysentery etc.
Serology –Ensures the screening and diagnosis of bacteria diseases such as syphilis etc, and viral diseases such HIV/AIDS. Provided tests include antistreptolysin O test (ASOT), rhematoid factor (RF), antinucleotide factor (ANF), rapid plasma reagin (RPR), Treponema palladum haemagulitinin assay (TPHA), cryptococcal antigen (CRAG) and hepatitis screen.
Plans are already in the pipeline to have histology and cytology departments at the institution. Researchers interested to work at the institution in any aspect are welcome. Tests for allergies and viral load are some of the tests the Laboratory hopes to be doing in the near future. Pathologies and consultants are also welcome to come at the institution in addition to the ones that currently operate at the institution.