National Reference Laboratory (NRL)

Mr Rutayisire Robert

Mr Rutayisire Robert studied Bachelor of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences at University of Rwanda, and Master of Medical Laboratory Sciences in Clinical Chemistry at Jomo kenyata University of Agriculture and Technology, in Kenya. Before joining RBC, He worked at University of Rwanda. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Tropical and infectious diseases, at University of Nairobi, Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases.


The National Reference Laboratory ensures the improvement of quality laboratory diagnostics by strengthening capacity building and operational research across the entire laboratory network.

What We Do

The National Reference Laboratory is responsible for supporting health service delivery through surveillance, prevention, diagnosis and management of diseases by ensuring the provision of quality laboratory services at all levels of health care. The division also conducts research with other institutions and provides external quality control/assurance for public health facilities.

Immunovirology Unit

The Immunovirology unit has the testing capacity of pathogens and other outbreaks of infectious disease caused by viruses, including ones which are prone to cause cross-border epidemics (Ebola, Murburg, Zika, Yellow Fever, viruses). As part of surveillance of epidemics and in line with the national preparedness plan, the unit has established outbreak teams for investigation and are capable of cascading skills to others at the national level for strengthening the capacity.

Nucleic acid Testing Lab (NAT)

The Nucleic Acid Testing Lab unit is responsible for genetic testing and molecular diagnosis of infectious, non-infectious diseases and operational research using advanced molecular techniques. It ensures genome level-based surveillance, genomics-based biothreat monitoring, disease diagnosis, prevention and management for quality healthcare.

External Quality Assurance and Quality Control (EQA/QC Unit)

The External Quality Assurance and Quality Control (EQA/QC) unit consists of External Quality Assurance/Proficiency Testing (EQA/PT), Laboratory Information System LIS/VLSMS, and Accreditation.

  • The EQA/PT program for laboratories ensures that the needs of all laboratory clients/patients are met. It serves as an evaluation method for laboratory performance and has a marketing advantage in the region.
  • The Laboratory Information Management System (LIS/LIMS) is used to respond to clients’ needs and reduce Turn Around Time (TAT) to ensure customer satisfaction.
  • The Accreditation program is a means of determining the technical competence of a medical laboratory to perform specific types of testing or measurement. Medical laboratory accreditation also provides a formal recognition to competent laboratories, thus providing a means for customers to identify and select reliable testing and measurement services able to meet the customers’ needs.

Medical Entomology Unit (MEU)

The Medical Entomology unit collaborates with the Epidemic Surveillance and Response (ESR) division to detect outbreak diseases caused by common vectors in Rwanda such as typhus fever, yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, leptospira, rift valley, Brucella, and Coxiells burnetii.

Microbiology Unit

The Microbiology Unit plays a central role in detection, surveillance, outbreak response and the provision of scientific evidence to prevent and control infectious diseases. The unit has three main sections: Mycobacterium, Parasitology and Bacteriology.

Clinical Pathology Unit

The Clinical Pathology Unit (CPU) unit has the mandate to oversee the quality of laboratory results for non-communicable and metabolic disease diagnosis. The unit conducts external quality control (proficiency testing) of public hospitals and private laboratories performing clinical chemistry and hematology diagnosis at quarterly basis. The unit also organizes and conducts onsite corrective action of health facilities that failed proficiency. The unit supports basic research and client management involving:

  • Micronutrients Testing
  • Therapeutic Drug Monitoring
  • Drug Abuse
  • Protein Electrophoresis
  • Tumor markers
  • Cardiac markers
  • Lipid profile
  • Kidney and Liver diseases markers
  • Hormones

Coordination of laboratory network unit

The coordination of laboratory network unit is responsible for laboratory quality services by organizing and coordinating the capacity building of all laboratory staff within the entire network of public and private health facilities. The unit also organizes and coordinates the mentorship/supervision of referral, provincial and district hospital laboratories and private health facilities labs, strengthens the equipment maintenance, provides the research policy and implements the framework for research, and monitors the network database.


To provide accessible quality laboratory services, strengthen the national diagnostic network through leadership and expert guidance to reduce the burden of diseases in Rwanda and in the region. .


To become a coordinated center of excellence for medical laboratory diagnosis by provision of quality laboratory services to ensure a healthy people for a wealthy nation. .


Division Manager
National Reference Laboratory
Tel: +250 788 881 791

Did You Know?

One of our staff working on multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) recently discovered a new TB strain. The patent is currently under international approval process, and the paper is under publication in the lancet journal. .

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