The first World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory in East Africa will be set up in Nairobi, Kenya.
This is after The LANCET Group of Labs Received an approval from the Anti Doping watchdog from Biological Passport (ABP) blood analysis.
Nairobi will be the first city to host the lab as part of the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) doping control programme in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Eritrea.
Until now blood samples from East African athletes is flown to South Africa, Asia or Europe for testing at an approved lab within 36 hours, a tight time frame that led to the regular bending of anti-doping rules.
The lab which is scheduled to begin operations in September is expected to analyse between 800 and 1000 blood samples a year.
The laboratory in Nairobi will perform blood analyses to support the AIU’s ABP program as well as other anti-doping programs operating in the area such as that of the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK).
The approval WADA is a culmination of a nine-month project initiated and funded by the AIU, with support from the International Athletics Foundation (IAF).
“From now on, the analyses of blood samples will be performed locally,” This is very timely especially in the context of next year’s IAAF World Championships in Doha,” Brett Clothier, Head of the AIU, stated.
.Clothier said this will give them more efficiency, responsiveness and less predictability in their testing programme in the region and a foothold in neighboring countries where it was extremely difficult to collect blood samples in the past.
Athletics Kenya (AK) on Monday welcomed the establishment of the lab in Nairobi for East Africa declaring it a big step in their anti-doping fight.
“This is the greatest news we have received this year, and we in Athletics Kenya are very excited about it because it will help us to effectively fight this doping effectively,” said president Jackson Tuwei at a news conference.
“WADA’s approval is a great recognition of the professional standards and skills of our facility in Nairobi,” Ahmed Kalebi of the LANCET Group of Labs East Africa said.
According to a communique from the AIU, the project engaged the services of the Centre of Research and Expertise in Anti-Doping Sciences (REDs) at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland to select a candidate laboratory in the region and then provide training and technical advice to achieve WADA’s approval.