World Quality Week: What it means to be a quality assurance officer at Target Malaria 

Posted 8th November 2023 by Diane Kama and Abbey Ssemaganda

This week is World Quality Week. At Target Malaria, we are using this as an opportunity to showcase the role of quality assurance in our research. In this blog, Abbey Ssemaganda of Target Malaria Uganda and Diane Kama of Target Malaria Burkina Faso offer their reflections on their role and the importance of Quality Assurance. 

Target Malaria Burkina Faso – Diane Kama 

Target Malaria Burkina Faso’s quality management procedures aim to ensure the reliability of research results, and regulatory compliance with the laws and requirements of biosafety, environmental and ethical regulatory authorities. Quality management played an important role with the team’s work on the non gene drive genetically modified sterile male mosquito and in the current phase of studies with the non gene drive genetically modified male bias mosquito.  

The Quality Manager works in close collaboration with the Insectary and Molecular Biology Laboratory teams to implement Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and biosafety measures, which ensure that contained use studies are carried out in a safe environment for credible scientific results. While ensuring the implementation of regulatory compliance plans and corrective action plans following various incidents, audits and inspections, quality management also supports project management.  

The contribution of quality management plays an essential role in obtaining the approvals that enables the Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé (IRSS) team to carry out research activities on behalf of Target Malaria. Since the creation of the Global Quality Assurance team, my role has included supporting the QMS global development and management, aligned with the ISO 9001 standard.  

Target Malaria’s quality management system aims to define a working framework for the entire Target Malaria project, which will promote better synergy, efficiency, and effectiveness of actions to achieve the aim of a malaria-free world. 

Target Malaria Uganda – Abbey Ssemaganda

My role as a Quality Assurance Officer at Target Malaria Uganda, at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), comes with the responsibility of ensuring that research activities are conducted in a way that complies with the established Quality Management System (QMS) and regulatory requirements. This not only maintains the integrity of the research but also ensures that research results are acceptable to regulatory agencies. It also provides assurance and confirmation that we have achieved the required level of quality. 

I support the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of the Target Malaria QMS, work with Operational Leads to establish quality requirements, and monitor compliance of site activities with established Protocols and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). 

I perform day-to-day quality control assessments, engage in the planning and execution of internal quality audits, and promptly communicate findings to functional leads and top management. In addition, I track and monitor the implementation of agreed actions. 

My role also focuses on improving the quality culture with my team, and promoting quality awareness through training, mentoring and participation in meetings and working groups.  

My role as a Quality Assurance Officer aligns very well with my passion for quality and scientific research. My role in upholding quality standards, ensuring compliance and fostering a culture of continuous improvement is essential for the success of Target Malaria project at UVRI. It is a challenging yet exciting and fulfilling journey to become an expert in quality management in a critically important field.