The Ethiopian National Accreditation Office (ENAO) started its first training program for Technical and Lead Assessors on the 16 May 2011. The program consists of a series of training courses and on-site mentorship and evaluation sessions to be presented over a period of 6-8 months. The candidates are evaluated in their ability to objectively assess conformity assessment bodies (CABs) for the performance of tasks in a competent manner.
The selection phase for the first program started in March of this year when adverts were placed in the national newspapers and invitations were sent to laboratories inviting suitably qualified candidates to apply for selection as trainee assessors. Over 350 applicants were received from public and private laboratories, all of which were of a very high caliber. These applicants were screened down to 40 trainees.
The program started with a course on ISO 15189 Medical laboratories — Particular requirements for quality and competence, from 16 to 19 May, where 20 medical technologists were trained on the requirements for assessing medical laboratories. This was followed the week after, from 23 to 26 May, by a course on ISO/IEC 17025 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories where another 20 trainees from a wide range of testing and calibration laboratories were trained on the relevant requirements. A selection process will then result in approximately 30 trainees from both medical and general laboratories going through to the next course, which will be a Technical Assessorâ€™s Technique course to be held in mid-June 2011. In addition, a small number of assessors will be selected for Lead Assessor training in July. Those that are successful in the Technical and/or Lead Assessor courses will then be mentored and evaluated while performing on-site assessments in laboratories over the period September to November 2011.
This is an exciting time in the development of ENAO since it represents the first phase of its path to becoming a fully functional and recognized accreditation body. Those trainees that are successful in the courses and practical assessment evaluations will be registered as ENAO part-time assessors and will play a very important role in the assessment of laboratories that wish to become accredited against one of the International standards, ISO 15189 or ISO/IEC 17025.
ENAO plans to hold regular training programs in order to maintain its pool of registered assessors and to expand its services into Certification and Inspection in the near future.