Laboratory quality management system regional training, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 28–31 March 2011

2012 is the proposed date for the new International Health Regulation (IHR) implementation which is now required to ensure that Member States will have a fully functional and quality controlled surveillance network.

For this surveillance network to function correctly, IHR requires that laboratories have high quality systems on which countries can depend. Despite previous attempts to develop programs related to communicable diseases surveillance, Turkmenistan health laboratories still showed several weaknesses, such as quality issues, national laboratory standard problems, lack of national guidelines, out-dated equipment and lack of trained personnel.

An assessment mission was carried out to review Turkmenistan laboratories’ capacities and to identify the weaknesses and gaps in order to improve the quality of the systems in these laboratories. As a result of this assessment mission, detailed action plans were established in November 2009 and training on quality management systems was carried out from 29 March to 2 April 2010.

Twenty-one participants were trained in laboratory quality management. The training on laboratory quality management systems was performed by a WHO consultant, Dr Joanna Zwetyenga, and 4 former trainees. Twenty-two participants from the regional level, including laboratory managers from the Velayats Sanitary and Epidemiological Service and staff from the antiplague service divisions were trained.