"Better labs for better health": Strengthening laboratory services in Tajikistan

In line with capacity building for improving and strengthening the national coordination of laboratory services in Tajikistan, a special mission was organized by WHO/Europe from 30 April to 2 May 2012 in collaboration with partners, including the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT).

Improving the quality of laboratory services in health care systems is an essential step towards protecting the health of the country's population and strengthening the health care system as a whole. As part of this mission, a proposal on "Better labs for better health" was developed. This proposal aims to strengthen laboratory services in three countries, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova and Tajikistan, and focuses on in-country capacity building for improving the national coordination of laboratory services and the quality of the services provided. 

Dr Caroline Brown (WHO/Europe) and Ms Linda Oskam (Royal Tropical Institute) visited Tajikistan in the role of project developers. The purpose of their visit was to involve the relevant stakeholders in the health laboratory sector from the Ministries of Health and Agriculture, as well as representatives from international organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations Development Programme/Global Fund, the German development bank KfW and the United States Agency for International Development. 

The three main components of the mission were to:

  • develop a national health laboratory policy and strategic plan for each country;
  • create and implement a two-year international MSc course in laboratory management; and
  • provide in-country training in modern laboratory techniques to laboratory staff. 

WHO/Europe, along with specialists from the three countries, will develop capacity building programmes aimed at increasing the skills and experience of the highly qualified laboratory specialists who are working on the national policies and strategic plans. 

During the meeting, participants agreed that the proposal is extremely timely and relevant to Tajikistan, and they confirmed their willingness to contribute to its implementation.