Turkmenistan developing a national laboratory policy through the Better Labs for Better Health initiative
In the beginning of 2016, the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan joined WHO/Europe’s Better Labs for Better Health initiative to improve biosafety and the quality of the national laboratory service in the field of public health. Using the approach which has been followed in Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, a multisectoral group of laboratory experts was formed.
In March 2016, the Ministry officially appointed this multisectoral expert group as the National Laboratory Working Group (NLWG). This group includes representatives of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry, public health and clinical laboratories, veterinary laboratories, research institutes, a standardization agency and educational institutions.
The NLWG started by carrying out a comprehensive analysis of the current laboratory system, and its strengths and challenges. In addition, in June 2016, WHO consultants conducted an assessment of the national laboratory system using the WHO Laboratory Assessment Tool. Analysis conducted by national experts and external consultants identified aspects that form a basis for reliable operation of the laboratory system and also points that require attention and improvement.
This work is supported by the European Union (European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development) as part of the project on strengthening health laboratories to minimize potential biological risks (contract IFS/2013/332312).