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<br>Ms. Tanabe (far left seated), Ms. Young (second from left seated), and Mr. Baker (far left standing) with the Middle East Advisory Board chairs and guests in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Ms. Tanabe (far left seated), Ms. Young (second from left seated), and Mr. Baker (far left standing) with the Middle East Advisory Board chairs and guests in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

ASCP BOC International Certifications Grow Exponentially in Middle East,
North Africa, and India

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa are investing $14 billion to expand their healthcare facilities, including medical laboratories, to improve the quality of health care. Concurrently, the ASCP Board of Certification (BOC) is making gains to promote international certification of laboratory professionals in these countries.

“We hope the new generation of laboratory professionals will adapt to the rapidly changing medical technology and understand the importance of continuing medical education, which is one of the certification maintenance program requirements.”
—Faisal Ibrahim, MBA, HCM, MT(ASCP)
ASCP BOC Lead Ambassador to the Middle East and Africa

Since 2009, applications sought by graduates of national universities and colleges for ASCP BOC international certifications have increased from 14 to 44 from Saudi Arabia, from one to 38 in Sudan, and from one to 16 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Additionally, the ASCP BOC’s international certification examination secured recognition by Abu Dhabi and Dubai health authorities by exempting those with the ASCP BOC international certification from taking their licensing examinations, provided they complete all requirements.

“That’s an incredible achievement,” says Jennifer Young, CT(ASCP)CM, Senior Manager for International Certification for the ASCP BOC. “The Middle East is a huge market for the ASCP BOC.”

In late January, Ms. Young, Pat Tanabe, MPA, MLS(ASCP)CM, ASCP BOC Executive Director, and Joseph Baker, MS, ASCP BOC Manager of International Certification, were in Dubai, UAE, to represent ASCP and the ASCP BOC at the Arab Health Congress. The Congress, which attracted 83,000 attendees, provided an important opportunity to strengthen relationships with health officials from the Middle East and North Africa.

From left, Ms. Young, Mr. Baker, and Mrijesh Kohli, ASCP BOC Regional Representative for India, at the All India Institute of Medical Technologists (AIIMT) 22nd National Congress on Biomedical Laboratory Science in India.

 

Mr. Baker (far left standing) and Mr. Kohli (at the podium) speak with laboratory professionals about international certification at the AIIMT Congress.

“As a whole, health care is given serious attention by the UAE government,” says Ahmad Sultan, PhD, MT(ASCP)SH, Health Quality Auditor (Hospitals and Clinics) of the Abu Dhabi Health Authority and Chair of ASCP BOC’s UAE Advisory Board.

Health authorities in the UAE now require or encourage all clinical medical laboratories to be accredited. Certification is a natural evolution of accreditation. The UAE Advisory Board is working to encourage all laboratory professionals, particularly UAE nationals, to apply for and take the ASCP BOC international certification examination. To remain competitive, other countries in the region will follow the UAE's example.

“We hope the new generation of laboratory professionals will adapt to the rapidly changing medical technology and understand the importance of continuing medical education, which is one of the certification maintenance program requirements,” says Faisal Ibrahim, MBA, HCM, MT(ASCP), ASCP BOC Lead Ambassador to the Middle East and Africa and International Program Manager of Global Health Partnerships with the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute in Philadelphia.

Currently, many countries do not have a standard of practice for laboratory professionals, according to Ms. Tanabe. Various countries in the Middle East and North Africa are drafting legislation specifying what credentials or educational background is required to work in the region or country.

Following the Arab Health Congress, Ms. Young and Mr. Baker traveled on to India to attend the All India Institute of Medical Technologists (AIIMT) 22nd National Congress on Biomedical Laboratory Science, where she spoke about the importance of certification of laboratory professionals.

“There are enormous possibilities in India to encourage medical laboratory professionals to take the ASCP BOC international certification examination,” says Manindra Chaudhuri, MD, President of AIIMT and a member of the India Advisory Board.   

The enthusiasm of the advisory boards in the Middle East, North Africa, and India has allowed the ASCP BOC to make inroads in promoting international certification in these regions. 


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