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I-TECH Working to Strengthen Laboratories in Cambodia and Laos

mekong deltaLed by Department of Global Health Professor Robert Martin, I-TECH was recently awarded a three-year Department of Defense contract to strengthen public health and clinical laboratories in Cambodia and Laos People’s Democratic Republic.

Functional laboratory systems are increasingly being recognized as a keystone of effective biosurveillance, biosecurity and of sustainable national health programs. Specifically, diagnostic microbiology laboratories significantly contribute to patient care, hospital infection control, national disease surveillance, and outbreak investigations. Inaccuracies in diagnostic testing can lead to potentially devastating outcomes for patients, systemic errors in surveillance data, and can ultimately affect health policy.

Working together with the World Health Organization in the Western Pacific Region, the Cambodian and Lao PDR Ministries of Health, and other partners in Southeast Asia, I-TECH will implement a program to strengthen the quality and clinical utilization of laboratory data and the capacity of national and provincial public health laboratories to conduct effective infectious disease diagnosis and surveillance across the Mekong Delta region.

Efforts are underway to involve key stakeholders including investigators at the University of Washington currently working on strengthening health systems in the region.

Together with local implementing partners, I-TECH will begin working with targeted provincial and reference laboratories in these countries for strategic improvement efforts in the winter of 2013.

The three-year program has the long-term goal of building program sustainability by collaborating with local partners. Please contact Dr. Martin if you are currently working in the region and are interested in sharing information and collaborating.