New national policy to strengthen laboratory services in Tajikistan

WHO

The Tajikistan Ministry of Health and Social Protection, in collaboration with the National Multisectoral Laboratory Working Group (NLWG), has developed a proposal for a national laboratory policy that envisions government-led, affordable and quality laboratory services available in the country by 2020. The ministry recently organized  a multisectoral consultation of the National Committee on Coordination and Laboratory Management to discuss the policy , which produced valuable comments to be reflected in the revised policy proposal.

The policy being developed with the technical assistance of WHO aims to create a rationally designed network with certified, well- managed, and financially independent laboratories supported by donors.
Accurate and reliable diagnosis is the cornerstone of disease management and prevention. Laboratories provide the bulk of available diagnostic techniques and are indispensable in healthcare delivery. A reliable and properly organized laboratory system not only generates the kind of quality results that individual patients demand, but also allows for effective disease surveillance and control. Recent examples such as the Ebola outbreak and the 2009 influenza pandemic highlight the importance of having such tools available.

Feasible and cost-effective strategies

The proposal outlines an evidence-based national laboratory policy. Developed in the context of the National Health Strategy Republic of Tajikistan, 2010 – 2020, it aligns with the European policy framework Health 2020 that supports action across government and society for health and well-being. The proposed policy covers 12 topics, each of which outlines a number of feasible and cost-effective strategies that are fundamental to achieving sustainable, accessible quality laboratory services in the country.

The policy addresses issues critical to providing reliable national laboratory services. Dr. Pavel Ursu, head of the WHO Country Office in Tajikistan, stressed that “it is expected that the policy will assist the Government of Tajikistan in determining the direction of development of laboratory services.” He added that it will also guide development of national strategic and operational implementation plans.

The proposal was developed by the NLWG through a series of workshops facilitated by WHO/Europe under its initiative “Better labs for better health”. According to the deputy health minister, Dr Navruz Jaffarov, “The multisectoral approach has served as the best approach for developing this cross-cutting policy that reflects the ‘One-Health’ concept.”