Tajikistan strengthens laboratory expertise for antimicrobial susceptibility testing


A group of 22 bacteriologists and laboratory technicians attended a training course in Tajikistan to strengthen their competencies in antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST). They came from the laboratories of regional and city infectious disease hospitals and sanitary epidemiological surveillance service centres, and from the National Reference Laboratory of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection.

The group gathered for the 4-day course at the National Reference Laboratory in Dushanbe on 31 October–3 November 2017.

The objectives of the course were to:

  • conduct a review of the National Reference Laboratory’s responsibilities and capacities related to AST;
  • strengthen the laboratory specialists’ knowledge of and skills in laboratory methods for testing the antimicrobial sensitivity of microorganisms; and
  • introduce them to the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) guidelines and tools for conducting studies on AST and interpreting resistance.

The course focused on the theoretical and practical aspects of AST and the interpretation of findings. The sessions included video demonstrations prepared as part of a WHO-led project. Instructors used a large number of prepared disk diffusion plates to demonstrate the practical aspects of quality control in the disk diffusion methodology, and the detection of special resistance mechanisms.

Through practical exercises, participants familiarized themselves with EUCAST methodology, materials and documents that they will use in their day-to-day work.

The training was regarded as successful, and follow-up steps have been discussed with WHO/Europe’s antimicrobial resistance (AMR) team.

The training was part of WHO’s continued support to the Government of Tajikistan for the development of the national action plan on AMR. The Government has developed a draft action plan that includes a strategic and operational plan for the next 5 years.

On 30 October 2017, the national intersectoral working group held a meeting at the WHO Country Office and discussed the laboratory aspect of the plan. The draft plan has been reviewed by 11 ministries and agencies and is currently in its final revision before being submitted to the Government for approval and endorsement.