The UNC Project Laboratory is a state-of-the-art clinical and research laboratory, with the mission to support clinical care, research and training activities of the UNC Project. The laboratory started in 1992 with a team of two technicians carrying out HIV testing and sample preparation at the Kamuzu Central Hospital. Today the laboratory has four sites in Central Lilongwe offering services in hematology, chemistry, serology, immunology, microbiology, parasitology, pathology, molecular diagnostics, and specimen processing, storage and shipping. The laboratory has one of the most extensive diagnostic menus in Malawi. A dedicated team of twenty-four laboratory professionals and nine support staff process more than 150,000 lab orders annually. The laboratory has a fully implemented quality management system overseen by a laboratory QA/QC department. Testing activities are covered by external quality assurance programs and internal and external laboratory auditing services.
UNC Project Laboratory was recently awarded 4-star status by the African Society for Laboratory Medicine following an audit under the guidance of the WHO AFRO Stepwise Laboratory Quality Improvement Process Towards Accreditation Checklist. The laboratory plans to seek ISO 15189 accreditation in 2015.
UNC Project Laboratory has contributed greatly to the success of UNC Project and collaborating research institutions through support of local, regional and international clinical trials and field studies. The laboratory also plays an active role in capacity building in Malawi public sector laboratories and in piloting innovative diagnostic technologies to improve access to care in resource-limited settings.