Uganda marks World Metrology day

Uganda through the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) joins the rest of the world to celebrate the World Metrology day, under the theme; Measurement for Health.

Metrology, which is the science of measurement, plays a leading role in all aspects of life and the economy including; health, safety, trade, manufacturing, aviation and infrastructure development among many other areas.

The theme for this year, Measurement for Health, was chosen to create awareness of the important role Metrology (measurements) plays in health and wellbeing of every one of us. The healthcare systems use medical measuring instruments to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases.

Measurement for health is important because it supports reliable, accurate and efficient measurements that are required by health workers in their diagnostic and therapeutic work. The health workers must be able to get accurate and reliable test results from their measuring and testing medical equipment in order to come to the right conclusions regarding their patients’ health.

Such tests and measurements include; body temperature, blood pressure, and body weight, height, counting disease-causing micro-organisms in the body, blood tests, and sugar levels in the body, among others. Even the prescription of medication is done in consideration of the quantities of active ingredients in the medicine in comparison with the body weight or as expressed in terms of age group, all of which must rely on accurate and reliable measurements.

Metrology is important in ensuring that the measuring and testing medical equipment are verified or calibrated to confirm the accuracy or to restore the accuracy that may have drifted.

False measurement results from un-verified and un-calibrated equipment are very dangerous and costly in terms of wrong diagnosis and therefore wrong prescription.  Wrong diagnosis and treatment can result into irreparable health damage or even loss of life. These false and erroneous test results however, can be prevented by ensuring accuracy through correct and continued calibration of the medical equipment.

This is where UNBS and other authorised calibration laboratories come into play, to calibrate and verify measuring medical equipment in different medical facilities in Uganda.

Therefore, Metrology as a field in the technical and scientific activity is very key in all sectors of society including the health sector. It is important that adequate attention be paid to this scientific activity of metrology to give it the visibility and support that it deserves.

UNBS as Uganda’s National Metrology Institute (NMI) under the scientific metrology function ensures that Uganda’s measurements have the required traceability to the International System of Units, such as mass, temperature and length among others. Under the Industrial Metrology function, UNBS provides confidence in testing and measurement results in industry through calibration of the equipment used in testing and measurements.

UNBS under the Legal Metrology function is responsible for regulated measurements and measuring instruments through verification of the weights and measures used in trade to ensure health, safety and fairness in trade.

Currently in Uganda, there are many sectors where the metrology capacity in terms of calibration capacity is very limited leaving room for measurements that require calibration services from outside Uganda and exorbitant costs.

Therefore, as we celebrate the World Metrology Day, there is need for deliberate effort by Government to provide adequate funding for the metrology field in order to ensure international traceability of all measurements, and to build reasonable calibration and verification capacity within Uganda that will support all the key sectors in our economy.

To celebrate the day, UNBS will be demonstrating how equipment calibration and verification is done to ensure accuracy of medical equipment such as Clinical thermometers, Infrared thermometers, Blood pressure monitoring Machines and others in different parts of the country.

The demonstration camps have been set up at Mengo Hospital on 19th May 2021, at Mayanja Memorial Hospital in Mbarara on 20th May 2021, and Mbale Main Hospital on 25th May 2021. In addition, an engagement with our stakeholders will be held on 27th May 2021 at Jinja Town hall.

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