Oman’s First Toxins Analysis Lab Set-Up


The facility will also be used to monitor the health of individuals exposed to occupational and environmental risk factors, such as carbon monoxide and pesticides, according to officials of the Poison Control Centre and Environmental Health. “The establishment of an advanced toxicology laboratory is designed to provide a state-of-the-art service to the public in the management of health, particularly in poison control, environmental and occupational health,” said Dr Salim al Wuhaibi, Director of Environmental Health, Ministry of Health.
“It is also aimed at providing a timely service to all health facilities in the Sultanate and to improve on case deduction and management of poisoning incidents in the country,” he added. The launch of toxicology testing services is part of the ministry’s effort to provide comprehensive healthcare services in the Sultanate, and enhancing its capabilities in the treatment of poisoning cases and occupational health incidents, said Dr Al Wuhaibi.
“In the past, blood and urine samples from people suspected of exposure to harmful substances were sent abroad for analysis. But with the newly standardised laboratory, samples can be tested quickly and treatment provided without delay,” he remarked. In the near future the centre also plans to test urine and blood samples to monitor lead and mercury levels among children below and above six years of age in the first phase of the project.
The initiative will be conducted in co-operation with clinicians throughout the country, he said. The second phase of the project will target different categories of employees exposed to hazardous substances in their work environments. They include farmers, pest control service staff, and oil and gas industry employees, to name a few, added Dr S B Lall, Head of the Poison Control Centre.
“The project, which commences by the end of this year, will cover complex areas such as monitoring drug levels and toxins as well as detecting and estimation of biomarkers of toxic substances in the human body,” she noted. Tests will also be conducted among Omani and expatriate employees in the government and private sectors.
The project will play a significant role in detecting acute and chronic poisoning cases among individuals exposed to hazardous environmental risks. The lab will also serve as a centre for scientific research and studies act as a reference laboratory to hospital laboratories and will train manpower needed for toxicology lab, she added.
It will also support quality assurance of other laboratories and assist in bio monitoring of environmental and occupational exposures, said the officials. it will assist in diagnosis and treatment of acute poisoning cases including the tests that are currently not conducted in other hospital laboratories. Recently, the centre in co-operation with the World Health Organisation held a training course on basic analytical techniques in toxicology for laboratory technical staff.

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