Strengthening laboratory services in Tajikistan
Updated 26 September 2016
The Better–Labs-for-Better-Health initiative began in Tajikistan in 2012 to improve the quality of laboratory services, focusing on two main components:
- developing a national health laboratory policy and strategic plan; and
- improving in-country curricula to train staff in modern laboratory techniques, laboratory quality, bio safety and management.
The Ministry of Health and Social Protection and the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as a national accreditation body, Tajikstandard, provided letters of formal commitment to the WHO Regional Director for Europe in 2012. Since then, a number of milestones have been achieved.
- A multisectoral inter-ministerial committee for the coordination of laboratory services and a National Laboratory Working Group (NLWG) were established
- The NLWG conducted 4 policy development workshops in 2013 and 2014, which resulted in the development of the National Laboratory Policy for the Republic of Tajikistan in March 2015
- Two strategic planning workshops were held in 2015, which resulted in the preparation of a draft National Laboratory Strategic Plan. This is being finalized by the Technical Working Group, which is a subset of the NLWG
- The development of an operational plan is being undertaken in parallel, which includes the highest priority topics identified in the strategic plan: Legislation and Network Mapping
- Members of NLWG were trained in the stepwise implementation of a laboratory quality management system using the WHO Laboratory Quality Management System (LQMS) Training Toolkit and Laboratory Quality Stepwise Implementation tool (LQSI)
- A training of trainers in biorisk management was conducted with subsequent roll out of training in biosafety for staff in national and regional laboratories
- An assessment of national teaching curricula for laboratory staff was conducted, with recommendations made to key stakeholders
- Mentoring missions commenced in 2016 to the Virology Laboratory (National Influenza Centre - NIC) of the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Surveillance Service, the Tajik Research Institute of Preventive Medicine, and the National Public Health Laboratory, Dushanbe, to support the laboratories with the implementation of quality management systems. This support provides a good basis for future accreditation under ISO 15189.