By Malisema Mahloane

MASERU – The fear of starting often stands in the way of a flourishing journey for many in the medical technology field. In many a case, qualified medical scientists fear venturing into businesses of their own due to the lacking working capital and financial muscle to carry the amount of expenses anticipated. However, that does not have to be the total stumbling block. Raising such capital can be through partnerships this is proven by business partners Ms Lefa Monne – a Cytotechnologist also Laboratory Director, Ms Camilla Letsota – a Medical technologist also Director Operations and Dr Washington – a Consultant Histopathologist who have put together resources to build Reliance Medical Laboratory PTY LTD.

Camilla, Director Operations at Reliance Medical Laboratory sheds light that there are lots of job opportunities in the Medical or Pathology Laboratories.

“Our business is a pathology laboratory, and has a wide range of medical tests that we provide at a very low tier, comparably to our competitors,” says Camilla.

Reliance Medical Laboratory provides Medical Microbiology tests, which is a department that opens doors to those who have specialized in Medical Microbiology. There is Haematology, Cytology, Histology, Clinical or chemical Pathology, Blood transfusion, Immunology, Infertility screening, Paternity testing, Antenatal screening tests and more. All of these require individuals who have studied Medical Laboratory sciences, Haematology (see PIC 1) Clinical Pathology (see PIC 2), Medical Microbiology (see PIC 3), Cytology, Histopathology or those who are specialized in these fields.  

She adds “There is nothing fancy with these job titles. One has to be passionate and professional. One has to work with patient blood, tissues, stools, urine, sputum and fluids day in day out.”

Camilla is charged with promoting Reliance Medical Laboratory business development opportunities, Lefa is on the other hand in charge of quality testing and general laboratory operations to ensure quality reliable results all the time. Dr Washington is the Pathologist who authorizes our Histopathology and all reports.

Being in business in a small setting requires multitasking too sometimes the owner is forced to engage in various critical business roles. However other carders have a home in the Pathology business, such as Phlebotomists (see PIC 4) which most times requires qualified nurses, Marketing personnel, Drivers (see PIC 5), and Information technologists to deal with Laboratory Management Information Systems, Procurement, Data capturing.

Camilla clarifies although she is a marketer, she is not qualified in this field of marketing. However, she recommends highly a specialized marketing candidate as a perfect fit in their business. Should the business decide to hire a marketer for the laboratory, the preferred candidate will have to go through internal training to familiarize themselves with the medical atmosphere and the practical language. After training, the marketing individual would be expected to offer our clients service awareness, brand management and more.

Setting up a Medical Laboratory can be a challenge, but with experience I got with my partners has opened this venture. Little did we know we would be in the driving seat of job creation and center of excellence.

“For one to work at Reliance Medical Laboratory, one is orientated, trained and deemed competent. The culture of ownership, team work, customer care, professionalism, dedication and quality lives with us here. We believe and rely on our staff with their capability that together we can bring the best service a laboratory can provide,” assures Camilla.

Reliance Medical Laboratory was conceptualized in a short space and without waste of time had to be birthed. From her story it was as if she was expecting it, Camilla’s turning point arrived when her job contract was terminated abruptly at Ts’epong since the laboratory management was leaving the hospital and sadly their jobs came to an end!

“We were given a very short notice to wrap up and prepare to go,” she says with a sore heart.

It was in 2022 when they joined hands with her partners to provide services as a private medical laboratory after realizing how high the demand for their services is in the country.

“Medical laboratory services are not only costly to the already struggling patients, but they are very high in demand seeing that both Private and Public health practitioners and institutions require more from laboratory testing to complete diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of diseases. Moreover, doctors need to make informed decisions about patients’ lives hence it is important to have lab tests” she clarifies.

Being in the medical industry is not for business Camilla says, the passion to provide these services to our nation without them crossing to the neighboring countries is an achievement not only to us but to our health facilities. We want a better care for our patients. We understand the pain of people studying for a profession thereafter being unemployed. We want to alleviate unemployment, contribute to the economy of Lesotho, and give the best services.

Reliance Medical Laboratory consists of highly experienced qualified medical technologists. Camilla is proud that together with her partners they are providing health services that the country needs critically, therefore to those who wonder, need a profession, and those already in; be proud to be a medical technologist, a scientist or a pathologist because you are at the right place.