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Laboratory performance must be put under the microscope

Update: November, 27/2012 - 09:02

Doctor Nguyen Huu Thien, the Chairman of the Vietnamese Lab Association, told the Vietnam News Agency about the essential role labs play in checking the quality of goods.

What are your thoughts on the current standards of our laboratories?

Laboratories are indispensable in controlling the quality of goods everywhere in the world and Viet Nam is no exception.

However, in our country the role of laboratories is somewhat underestimated, even by those who work in the labs.

I can't deny that nowadays we have some state-of-the-art labs which are currently in good operation. Yet, as far as I know, many labs are also sitting idle.

It's true that many labs in southern Viet Nam have been highly rated for their strong performance and examples include the lab run by Test Centre No.3 and the private lab of Professor Chu Pham Ngoc Son, as well as others.

Labs are suffieciently and diversely equipped, the result of Viet Nam having 40-50 distributors nationwide, whereas in the past such equipment was difficult to obtain. So, the only issue now is the willingness to apply advanced technology in our laboratory work.

Do you think the existing laboratory system is operating effectively?

Reality shows that some of our work has produced excellent results. Yet some has not. For example, our labs cannot perform dioxin tests - these tests must be performed abroad. At present, our labs are able to meet roughly 80 per cent of the market demand.

In fact, there are very narrow discrepancies in the test results of the same sample performed by different labs. This has caused anxiety among people and is an issue we should pay attention to. First of all we have to select the most appropriate lab to perform a test. For example, if we want to test medicines, we should no doubt send it to the Ministry of Health's drug testing centre.

How can our labs perform more efficiently?

In my opinion, the first thing we have to do is to check goods not only at the point of sale, but also at the source. To prevent hazardous goods from entering into the market, it is imperative that we prevent them from being imported into Viet Nam.

In addition, I recommend allowing private labs to operate alongside public laboratories. Of course, they have to abide by the laws and regulations, as well as take full responsibility for their work. — VNS

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