Concept Note - Health laboratory strengthening: an essential component of early warning surveillance and response systems and a national core capacity of the IHR (2005) (2016)




Reliable and accessible laboratory services capable of producing results in a timely manner are an essential component of any country’s surveillance capacity and early warning and response systems that collect information on epidemic-prone diseases in order to notify WHO of potential PHEIC and trigger prompt public health interventions. That laboratories are in the front-line of the response to epidemics and pandemics has been demonstrated many times, particularly during the 2003 SARS outbreak, the recent Ebola outbreak and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. In spite of this, the performance of public health laboratories is hindered by a number of challenges including insufficient financial and human resources, equipment and supplies, quality and biosafety and sample referral and transport systems.