|MRA Success Story|
By the grace of Allah, Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC) has achieved a milestone of Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) with International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC).Now Pakistan is included in the list of countries having equivalence status for accreditation of testing and calibration laboratories all over the world.
ILAC & APLAC are international and regional bodies to build up and to maintain mutual confidence in the technical competence among Full Members and to work towards further development of the ILAC & APLAC multilateral mutual recognition arrangement (MRA).The APLAC was initiated in 1992 as a forum for laboratory accreditation bodies in the Asia Pacific region. Its primary aim was to establish, develop and expand a mutual recognition arrangement among accreditation bodies in the region.
| The history of MRAs is not very long. On 19, November 1997, with 7 accreditation bodies signing the MRA for testing and calibration. The MRA was extended in November 2003 to include inspection, and in April 2007 to refer specifically to ISO 15189 (the international standard applied to medical laboratories). There are currently about 18 countries signatories to the MRA and Pakistan is one of them represented by PNAC. |
| There are certain requirements necessary for membership hence every accreditation body from the world is not a member of ILAC/APLAC. There are several stages to become a signing MRA member of these international bodies: the first is to establish an accreditation body in the country, for which Government of Pakistan established PNAC in 1998, the sole accreditation body for accreditation of laboratories, inspection bodies and certification bodies etc. |
The second stage requires preparing a quality documented system in accordance with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17011 (The international standard for accreditation bodies). The third stage is to start accreditation of laboratories and/or inspection bodies. The fourth stage is to qualify for membership of ILAC and APLAC b by at least accrediting three labs demonstrating that a quality management system of accreditation established, implemented and maintained in accordance with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17011. PNAC has accredited more than 30 laboratories.
The fifth stage is getting peer evaluation. The APLAC team of peer evaluators evaluates the accreditation bodies system in accordance with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17011. Successful peer evaluation of PNAC was conducted by APLAC MRA team, Mr. Ned Gravel (Canada), Mr. Yannapat (Thailand) and Ms. Hoa (Vietnam). The team has recommended PNAC for MRA signatory status without any non-conformity. The week long meetings included the evaluation of quality system documents, records of labs, assessment process, interviews and extensive discussion with top management and officers of PNAC.
| The team has also visited laboratories accredited by PNAC in Hattar, Kamra and Lahore to witness the competence of assessment team and evaluated the harmonization among the assessors on the various technical issues. This activity is conducted after every four years to maintain membership as MRA signatory. |
| The peer evaluation report of PNAC was discussed in the APLAC Hong Kong meeting from 21-22 May 2009, DG, PNAC & Quality Manager, PNAC has defended the case and finally after a long discussion the APLAC MRA Council comprising of more than 26 countries has approved by the council. |
| Director General has signed Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) with APLAC on 22nd May 2009 at Hong Kong. Being an MRA signatory accreditation body the tests reports and calibration certificates of testing and calibration laboratories accredited by PNAC are accepted everywhere in the world.|
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