Tokelau Clinical Laboratory
The Tokelau Clinical container laboratory has been set up in two x 20ft high cube shipping containers, through a grant funding proposal presented by the PPTC to New Zealand MFAT. Scope of test, including test menu, was developed by the PPTC staff in consultation with the Tokelau Director of Health and the Laboratory Scientist in Tokelau, to meet the clinical needs of Tokelau Health and Hospital services. All scientific advice and input in test/ equipment selection were provided by the PPTC technical staff for this work.
These container laboratory units are placed side by side with a phlebotomy area and a general laboratory testing area to house GeneXpert Testing. PPTC also supplied all equipment and training for this laboratory and ongoing reagents for twelve months.
Specialised medical laboratory equipment purchased and supplied with the container laboratory included the following:
- Two ABL Blood gas analyser
- Sysmex Haematology Full Blood Count Analyser
- Cobas Troponin-T Point of care analyser
- DCA Vantage (HbA1C and Microalbumin/ creatinine analyser)
- FujiFilm Dry Chemistry Analyser
- Class II Biosafety Cabinet
- Olympus Microscope
- Benchtop water distiller
- Clinical centrifuge
- Underbench incubator
- Underbench freezer
- Pharmaceutical fridge
- Bench autoclave
- Orbital shaker
- Digital cell counter
- pH meter
- Automatic pipettes (2µL through to 1000µL)
- EDTA tube roller mixers
- Phlebotomy trolley
- Phlebotomy chairs
- Specimen barcode printer
- Date/time stamp for request forms
- Office Computer with 2x printers
- UPS units
This lab was purpose-built for Tokelau to house the above equipment and met the design footprint of the on-site location.
PPTC worked specifically with NZ-based modification company – BOXMAN containers, who were commissioned to carry out these modifications. These were installed in 2020 and are fully operational. The laboratory is used for all clinical testing and has GeneXpert for COVID-19 testing.
PPTC worked with laboratory suppliers across New Zealand [Interlab, Thermofisher, Fort Richard, OneLab, Bio-strategy, Olympus, Radiometer, Siemens, Roche Diagnostics, BD, Merck, ELITech, Meddent etc.] to procure diagnostic equipment and reagents for this project, and is always grateful for the not-for-profit pricing applied for our orders.
Setup and Training
The provision of training to the Tokelau laboratory and Health staff is a major component of the delivery and implementation of this project. Through remote zoom sessions, the PPTC laboratory consultants have worked with the Laboratory manager to set up all diagnostic equipments in this laboratory which are now being used to report critical medical results to the clinicians for patient management in Tokelau. Laboratory Documents and Structure have also been implemented for this laboratory via remote sessions.
Once the travel restrictions are lifted between Tokelau and Samoa, and between Samoa and New Zealand, the PPTC has planned nine visits for face-to-face training of staff. Areas to be covered include:
- Overall Support for Quality Management.
- Phlebotomy; Training and Continuous Assessment.
- Technical Support for POCT Molecular Microbiology.
- Technical Support for Haematology Laboratory Services.
- Technical Support for Biochemistry Laboratory Services.
- Technical Support for Microbiology Laboratory Services.
- Assessment and Evaluation.
Tokelau Laboratory Photos
- Video link to photos: www.youtube.com/watch?v=U__qZq7esy8
- News article: www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/world/covid-19-testing-lab-way-nz-remote-tokelau