MESSAGE FROM FIRST BOARD CHAIRPERSON KENAS
It is a great privilege for me, as the first KENAS Board chairperson, to see KENAS at 10 today. The occasion we mark today and the achievements we are celebrating are strongly founded on the efforts of many people that were laid down from the start. KENAS has come a long way from 2009 to what it has become today. What we see today is a result of the hard working and committed staff.
I recall when we joined KENAS, some of us were not very clear on what accreditation was, and thus we started on a steep learning curve, setting up an organization structure that could be recognized and also benefit from other organizations worldwide. We benchmarked against the oldest accreditation bodies in Australia, the emerging bodies in Europe and we put up an organization of accreditation that could be accepted in Kenya. In some organizations that we benchmarked against, accreditation was done by an individual, in others by a committee that consisted of staff members from an accreditation body, but in a few accreditation decisions were made by a committee of persons of technical expertise who were without the accreditation body. We made a model such the accreditation is independent and technically sound. By the end of our term after many efforts we left an established KENAS, with procedures and processes. We started KENAS on a journey to international recognition and it’s a great privilege to see the fruits of the journey started then. As the first Board, ours was to lay the foundation since others had laid some structure, others had roofed it, others have painted it so that the KENAS we know today is a world renowned accreditation body, that is recognized; a full member of International Laboratories Accreditation Committee (ILAC) and a full member of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) with relevant multilateral arrangements (MLAS) and a full member of African Accreditation Cooperation (AFRAC) and this was our dream.
Its notable, to indicate, that the journey as KENAS has been long, not devoid of challenges especially in 2012, when we had to battle out an irregular certification for a public institution. There were also initial challenges in setting awareness on the importance of accreditation. However, KENAS has made triumphant steps, with over 100 accreditation in various areas today. I am glad to note that the quality of laboratories in Kenya and the quality of results that comes from these laboratories has significantly improved. Other vibrant areas are in testing and calibration, where we have had samples that have not met the standards. Accreditation has made it possible to improve in accuracy of tests from sampling laboratories. In conclusion, as we move forward, there is ground to cover. KENAS is operating under a legal order and accreditation is currently at advanced stages. Schemes must be mandatory, and health and safety can’t be on voluntary scheme anymore. I strongly think that accreditation of laboratories that deal with human health and safety should be made mandatory. Such that, when I go to a laboratory, I must be confident that the results am going to get are results that can be replicated by any laboratory in the world. I was privileged to be there in the beginning and I congratulate KENAS for a decade of service. The sky is the limit.