SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED QUALIFICATION THAT HAS PASSED THE END DATE: 

National Certificate: Medical Laboratory Assistance 
SAQA QUAL ID QUALIFICATION TITLE
63189  National Certificate: Medical Laboratory Assistance 
ORIGINATOR ORIGINATING PROVIDER
SGB Medical Laboratory Assistants   
QUALITY ASSURING BODY NQF SUB-FRAMEWORK
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
QUALIFICATION TYPE FIELD SUBFIELD
National Certificate  Field 09 - Health Sciences and Social Services  Curative Health 
ABET BAND MINIMUM CREDITS PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL QUAL CLASS
Undefined  127  Level 3  NQF Level 03  Regular-Unit Stds Based 
REGISTRATION STATUS SAQA DECISION NUMBER REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE
Passed the End Date -
Status was "Reregistered" 
SAQA 0480/09  2009-07-01  2012-06-30 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2012-06-30   2014-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

PURPOSE AND RATIONALE OF THE QUALIFICATION 
Purpose:

This Qualification is intended for learners who work in a medical laboratory and who may be required to receive various types of human tissue samples for laboratory analysis, to prepare for pre-and post-analytical processing of laboratory samples, and/or to apply the fundamental principles of blood transfusion component preparation, distribution and fractionation.

Learners credited with this qualification will be capable of:
  • Identifying and solving problems related to the handling of human tissue samples.
  • Preparing various types of human tissue samples for pre-and post-analytical testing.
  • Interacting professionally with clients, including members of the multidisciplinary health team.

    The successful completion of this Qualification will enable a qualified learner to be registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as a Medical Laboratory Assistant.

    Rationale:

    A sizeable number of present employees within the medical laboratory sector have educational backgrounds that place them between NQF Levels 1 and 3 and are thus generally defined as "semi-skilled". Laboratory assistants are included in this category. Findings indicate that some employees in this category have gained experience and expertise in the workplace, neither of which is formally recognised. Laboratory assistants, once qualified, will be an asset in various departments of a medical laboratory and this Qualification would be the groundwork for further advancement. Furthermore, this Qualification will act as the mechanism for setting standards of performance, thus enhancing quality control within the industry.

    This Qualification will contribute to the full development of the learner by providing recognition, further mobility and portability within the field of medical technology. The skills, knowledge and understanding demonstrated within this Qualification are essential for social and economic transformation and upliftment within the medical technology environment as well as contributing to alleviating the skills shortage in the country.

    This Qualification also forms one of the bouquets of health services which require enhancement in order to meet the increasing demand for available health services from the ever growing numbers of foreign visitors to our country. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
  • Communication skills at NQF Level 2.
  • Mathematical Literacy at NQF Level 2.

    Recognition of Prior Learning:

    This Qualification may be achieved wholly, or in part, through recognition of prior learning. Evidence may be presented in a variety of forms, including previous international or local qualifications, reports, testimonials, portfolios, work records and performance appraisals.

    Learners who have met the requirements of a Unit Standard that forms part of this qualification may apply for recognition of prior learning to the relevant Education and Training Quality Assurance (ETQA) body or ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding in place with the relevant ETQA. The applicant will be assessed in terms of the relevant specific outcomes and related assessment criteria. 

  • RECOGNISE PREVIOUS LEARNING? 

    QUALIFICATION RULES 
  • All 36 Fundamental Component credits are compulsory:
  • All 71 Core Component credits Unit are compulsory.
  • At least 20 of the Elective Component credits must be attained.

    Minimum number of credits to be attained: 127.

    Course Requirements:

    The learner is required to be registered with HPCSA as a Student Medical Laboratory Assistant for the duration of the period of learning. 

  • EXIT LEVEL OUTCOMES 
    1. Identify and solve problems related to the handling of human tissue samples.
  • Range: Handling includes receiving, recording, processing dispatching and storing.

    2. Prepare various types of human tissue samples for pre- and post-analytical testing.

    3. Interact professionally with clients including members of the multidisciplinary health care team.

    Critical Cross-Field Outcomes:

    This qualification addresses the following critical cross-field outcomes, in the indicated Exit Level Outcomes:
  • Identifying and solving problems are indicated in the assessment of human tissue samples received and the processing or the replacement of damaged or inadequate samples submitted.
  • Working effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organisation or community is indicated in the maintenance of the quality cycle, adequate communication and the adherence to standard operating procedures.
  • Responsible and effective organisation and management of self is shown in the throughput and output of human tissue samples and the submission of timeous reports of test results to the requestors.
  • Collating information is indicated by the output of samples and the successful submission of reports.
  • Effective communication is indicated in the maintenance of the quality cycle and the successful processing of human tissue samples.
  • Science and technology are effectively utilized throughout the laboratory, the success of which is indicated in the timeous completion of a sample test report.
  • Understanding the world as a set of related systems is demonstrated through team work and proper application of customer care to both internal and external clients
  • All of the above contribute to the full personal development of the learner and encourage the learner to learn more. 

  • ASSOCIATED ASSESSMENT CRITERIA 
    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit-Level-Outcomes 1:

    1.1 All samples are handled according to the protocols for infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, to ensure safe working conditions for self and colleagues.
    1.2 Data pertaining to human tissue samples is recorded, stored and/or dispatched as required by the Standard Operating Procedures.
    1.3 Damaged or inadequate samples are removed from the processing chain and new samples are requested.
    1.4 Procedures such as pipetting, centrifuging and sample storing are performed in a manner which ensures a quality cycle.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit-Level-Outcomes 2:

    2.1 A safe working environment is maintained and, in the event of an accident or spill, appropriate action is taken and explained.
    2.2 Samples are appropriately prepared for analysis, storage or transportation to the relevant processing department.
    2.3 Pathology samples are handled in a manner that ensures sample content integrity.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit-Level-Outcomes 3:

    3.1 Medical ethical guidelines and professional rules are applied at all times - both with internal and external clients.
    3.2 Communication with all clients is clear and unambiguous to ensure understanding by the client.
    3.3 Information is correctly retrieved and shared by using the existing organisational database.
    3.4 Strict data capture is maintained and timeous reports are submitted.

    Integrated Assessment:

    Learners may be credited for individual unit standards as and when they can demonstrate that they can achieve the required competencies.

    Workplace experience may be recognised when assessing this qualification.

    A range of formative and summative methods may be used in assessing learners, which may include:
  • Written and oral tests/examinations.
  • Case studies and assignments.
  • Role-play and simulation sessions.
  • Written reports/work plans.
  • Demonstrations by the learner.
  • Research projects.

    Formative assessment should be carried out at regular intervals throughout the period of study. It should be offered in an integrated manner where the theoretical and practical components are assessed together to measure learner competence.

    Summative assessment is carried out on completion of all learning components required for the Qualification, whether theoretical or practical. 

  • INTERNATIONAL COMPARABILITY 
    This qualification was compared to similar qualifications in England, Australia, USA & Canada. They all have the equivalent of the laboratory assistant, variously classified as laboratory assistants, clerks, pathology aids and aliquoters / wanders. The training is basically in-house, although USA & Canada do have some formal training courses.

    England:

    Medical Laboratory Assistants (or Biomedical Support Workers), don't get any formal training. Trainees are given mostly on-the-job training, starting with general safety instructions and how the job role fits in the day to day working of the hospital. Trainees then move on to specialised individual training. Certificates of Competence can be awarded for the safe performance of various duties. The Institute of Biomedical Sciences (IBMS) produces a training manual for Medical Laboratory Assistants (MLA) staff and laboratories modify it to suit their particular requirement. It's the responsibility of the MLA to get this signed off as they rotate through the lab. It is a good record of their achievements. MLAs who work in the blood transfusion department are governed by certain guidelines from the British Blood Transfusion Society.

    Australia:

    Pathology aids and aliquoters / wanders don't get any formal training. Trainees are given on-the-job training by their supervisors. Training logs are completed as each competency is acquired.

    USA:

    College training is offered for the MLA. This training compares well to our qualification:

    MLAB 1101 INTRODUCTION TO CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCE (1-1-0). An introduction to clinical laboratory science, including quality control, laboratory math, safety, basic laboratory equipment, laboratory settings, accreditation, certification, professionalism, and ethics.

    MLAB 1201 INTRODUCTION TO CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCE FOR MEDICAL ASSISTANTS (2-1-4). An introduction to clinical laboratory science, including quality control, laboratory math, safety, basic laboratory equipment, laboratory settings, accreditation and certification. The University training offered contains some relevant sections, but a fair amount compares more to our Medical Laboratory Technicians who perform testing.

    Core Courses
    MLAP 112 Anatomy, Physiology and Medical Terminology (Yes)
    MLAP 113 The Electrocardiogram (Definitely not)
    MLAP 121 Professional and Safety Issues (Yes)
    MLAP 131 Laboratory Procedures and Protocols (Yes, but not analysis part)
    MLAP 051 Phlebotomy Workshop (Definitely not)
    MLAP 141 Evaluation of Competencies (Yes)

    Optional Advanced Courses
    MLAP 151 General Pre-Analytical Specimen Preparation (Yes, but not performing urinalysis or the collection of micro specimens)
    MLAP 161 Pre-Analytical Histo-Pathology (Yes, but not the actual processing of the samples)

    Canada:

    There are many institutions offering MLA courses, including Career Canada and some community colleges. They receive a certificate if they pass the course. Some can also be trained on-site. It is not regulated at this time.

    This qualification was also compared to Nigeria, Namibia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Angola & United Arab Emirates (UAE). Some of these countries do not have the equivalent of the laboratory assistant. The training is basically in-house, although Ethiopia & UAE do have some formal training courses.

    Nigeria:

    O' Level holders are given apprenticeship in a laboratory and can become Lab Assistants.

    Namibia:

    Laboratory assistants have been largely phased out. No formal training courses were offered as the type of work they did was too varied to offer a specific training course. They have expressed interest in our course.

    Saudi Arabia:

    No training courses for MLAs are offered.

    Ethiopia:

    Most of the current lab assistants are trained in-house, informally. Recently, the government has allowed Health Colleges to offer a one and two year certificate programmes in laboratory technology and nursing and successful learners are certified as assistant laboratory technicians and nurse aids respectively when they graduate.
    The middle level TVET programme, year 1 - less than 50% of the course is applicable to our laboratory assistant, it is more applicable to our medical technician.
    The middle level TVET programme, year 2 - less than 20% of the course is applicable to our laboratory assistant, it is more applicable to our medical technician.

    Angola:

    Laboratory personnel must have at least a 12 Grade qualification with 1 or 2 years technical graduation in a laboratory. It would appear that Angola does not make use of laboratory assistants, as this level of qualification is much higher than ours. They have also expressed interest in our course.

    United Arab Emirates:

    The Higher Colleges of Technology offer a Diploma in Laboratory Technology - about 50% of the year 1 courses are similar to ours (Introduction to Human Life Science Laboratory Math, some of the Basic Laboratory Techniques, Personal & Professional Development I and Medical Terminology), but only about 10% of the year 2 courses are similar (Materials Control & Data Management and Laboratory Maintenance)

    Conclusion:

    The National Certificate: Medical Laboratory Assistance, Level 3 compares favourably with what little formal training is offered internationally and in particular is aligned with the MLAB 1101 college training offered in the USA. Differences between international practice and the contents of the National Certificate: Medical Laboratory Assistance relate to South African legislative and statutory limitations on laboratory assistant practice.

    This qualification meets the needs of the medical laboratories in South Africa and it is envisaged that this qualification would be applicable in any developing country, especially in the SADC region. 

    ARTICULATION OPTIONS 
    Horizontally, this Qualification articulates with:
  • ID 50062: National Certificate: Occupational Hygiene and Safety, NQF Level 3.
  • ID 49992: National Certificate: Auxiliary Nursing, NQF Level 3.

    Vertically, this Qualification articulates with:
  • ID 59345: Further Education and Training Certificate: Phlebotomy Techniques, NQF Level 4.
  • 16166: National Certificate: Biotechnology, NQF Level 5. 

  • MODERATION OPTIONS 
  • Anyone assessing a learner against this qualification must be accredited as an assessor with the relevant Education and Training Quality Assurance body (ETQA) or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding in place with the relevant ETQA.
  • Any institution offering learning against this qualification must be accredited as a provider with the relevant ETQA or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding in place with the relevant ETQA.
  • Anyone moderating learners against this qualification must be proficient in the subject matter included in this Qualification at a Level above that of this Qualification and must be accredited as a moderator with the relevant ETQA or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding in place with the relevant ETQA.
  • Assessment and moderation of assessment will be overseen by the relevant ETQA according to the ETQA`s policies and guidelines for assessment and moderation Body. 

  • CRITERIA FOR THE REGISTRATION OF ASSESSORS 
    N/A 

    NOTES 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARDS: 
      ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
    Core  257201  Apply quality practice in a medical laboratory  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Core  257195  Chronicle interactions in a medical laboratory  Level 3  NQF Level 03  18 
    Core  13915  Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS in a workplace, and its effects on a business sub-sector, own organisation and a specific workplace  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  257196  Handle samples in a centralised sample reception area  Level 3  NQF Level 03  20 
    Core  119078  Use a GUI-based word processor to enhance a document through the use of tables and columns  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  252170  Apply the principles of customer care in client interactions  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Core  252401  Comply with safety requirements in the medical pathology and blood transfusion fields  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Core  252402  Demonstrate knowledge of medical ethical guidelines in the medical pathology and blood transfusion fields  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Fundamental  119472  Accommodate audience and context needs in oral/signed communication  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9010  Demonstrate an understanding of the use of different number bases and measurement units and an awareness of error in the context of relevant calculations  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9013  Describe, apply, analyse and calculate shape and motion in 2-and 3-dimensional space in different contexts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  119457  Interpret and use information from texts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9012  Investigate life and work related problems using data and probabilities  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  119467  Use language and communication in occupational learning programmes  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  7456  Use mathematics to investigate and monitor the financial aspects of personal, business and national issues  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  119465  Write/present/sign texts for a range of communicative contexts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14342  Manage time and work processes within a business environment  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  116945  Use electronic mail to send and receive messages  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  257199  Fractionate blood products for transfusion  Level 3  NQF Level 03  12 
    Elective  257216  Handle biological specimens for immunochemistry analysis in a medical laboratory  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  257198  Handle biological specimens for processing in a histopathology laboratory  Level 3  NQF Level 03  13 
    Elective  257197  Handle biological specimens in a haematology laboratory  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  257200  Handle blood components for transfusion  Level 3  NQF Level 03  13 
    Elective  13934  Plan and prepare meeting communications  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  257202  Process human tissue specimens for testing in a cytology laboratory  Level 3  NQF Level 03  12 
    Elective  257215  Receive and prepare specimens for microbiological analysis and prepare culture media in a medical laboratory  Level 3  NQF Level 03  24 


    LEARNING PROGRAMMES RECORDED AGAINST THIS QUALIFICATION: 
     
    NONE 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS QUALIFICATION: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Quality Assuring Bodies have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Quality Assuring Body should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    NONE 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.