Taking blood tests to the people

Phindiwe Kula and Dipuo Madonsela cutting the ribbon to open the Spectrum Pathology Laboratory in Carletonville. /SUPPLIED
Phindiwe Kula and Dipuo Madonsela cutting the ribbon to open the Spectrum Pathology Laboratory in Carletonville. /SUPPLIED

Two women who seven months ago had nothing but a dream to open a pathology laboratory, have come to realise their goal.

Biomedical technologists Phindiwe Kula, 39, and Dipuo Madonsela, 34, opened the Spectrum Pathology Laboratory in Carletonville on the West Rand after seven months of planning and seeking investors. The laboratory offers blood test services for HIV, cancer and tests for bacteria, among others.

Yesterday, Kula said their dream was to expand the business to other townships so that people do not have to wait for long periods to get their results.

"The service should be closer to the people. Why should they suffer? My mother was a domestic worker, so I know what it's like not to have R10 to get to a place where you can get help," Kula said.

She said people usually have to wait days before they can get results because specimens are transported to labs outside their areas.

"They should get their results on the same day because the technology allows it."

Kula said their building is located right next to the local taxi rank, which was a deliberate decision to increase accessibility.

Kula said they had enrolled in an external quality assurance service to ensure that their results are accurate.

"We are not going to compromise on quality because we want to compete with the big labs," she said.

Born in the Eastern Cape, Kula worked as a lab manager for 12 years before deciding to embark on this venture with Madonsela in November last year.

Madonsela studied medical technology at the University of Johannesburg.

She said opening the laboratory was a dream come true for both of them.

"When we started the planning we had nothing. All we had was the idea to start a lab. We just had a dream."

Madonsela said they worked on a tight proposal and went around looking for investors.

"Looking back, one can see that with hard work and faith in God anything is possible," she said.

Madonsela said their business was also made unique by the fact that it was run by medical technologists while most labs were headed by pathologists.

They have employed two technologists, an administration clerk, a cleaner and a
driver.

"We are looking to create more employment and provide training for technologists," she said.

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