Strengthening laboratory policies and training in the Republic of Moldova

Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)

A fourth Better Labs for Better Health (BLBH) follow-up workshop organized by WHO and the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in the Netherlands took place in the Republic of Moldova on 3–5 June 2014 to review a draft national laboratory policy paper developed in 2013.

Workshop participants conducted root cause analysis and gap analysis exercises, and the national laboratory working group planned actions for specific policy priorities. Additional adjustments were suggested to the draft policy paper based on a WHO/Europe and KIT desktop review. It was agreed that the working group would carry on development of strategic plan activities for half of its 10 major laboratory policy categories before the fifth BLBH follow-up mission in September 2014.

Laboratory curriculum assessment

A laboratory curriculum assessment mission was also conducted on 16-20 June 2014. Before the mission, WHO and KIT undertook a laboratory curriculum assessment in the Republic of Moldova by interviewing high-level decision-makers from key line-ministries and Government agencies, relevant undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate education facilities providing laboratory training in the country, key laboratory staff and students pursuing a laboratory career.

The mission aimed at defining the competencies required for laboratory technicians, laboratory physicians and laboratory managers, while establishing specific learning outcomes, topics/methods for further improvements of the training curriculum. Mission participants looked at strategies to increase retention and motivation of lab personnel, accreditation mechanisms, and the possibility of setting up a professional association of laboratory technicians.

Subsequent steps will need to include validation of updated lab competencies by authorized entities, including for non-medical (biology/chemistry) and laboratory managers. Future partnerships with the  School of Public Health in Chisinau are considered for a lab manager post-graduate course.

The Royal Tropical Institute became a WHO collaborating center for laboratory strengthening in 2014.