WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 266-272

Strengthening public health laboratory capacity in Thailand for International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005)

1 WHO-Thailand, Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) Campus, Nonthaburi, Thailand; Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States of America
2 WHO-Thailand, Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) Campus, Nonthaburi, Thailand; WHO-Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
3 WHO-, Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) Campus, Nonthaburi, Thailand
4 MOPH, Bureau of Quality and Safety of Food, Department of Medical Sciences, Nonthaburi, Thailand
5 MOPH, National Institute of Health, Department of Medical Sciences, Nonthaburi, Thailand
6 IQLS (Integrated Quality Laboratory Services), Lyon, France
7 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

Correspondence Address:
Anne Harwood Peruski
28 Shean Road, Belmont, MA

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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.206749

PMID: 28612811

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Introduction: Thailand conducted a national laboratory assessment of core capacities related to the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005), and thereby established a baseline to measure future progress. The assessment was limited to public laboratories found within the Thai Bureau of Quality and Safety of Food, National Institute of Health and regional medical science centres. Methods: The World Health Organization (WHO) laboratory assessment tool was adapted to Thailand through a participatory approach. This adapted version employed a specific scoring matrix and comprised 16 modules with a quantitative output. Two teams jointly performed the on-site assessments in December 2010 over a two-week period, in 17 public health laboratories in Thailand. The assessment focused on the capacity to identify and accurately detect pathogens mentioned in Annex 2 of the IHR (2005) in a timely manner, as well as other public health priority pathogens for Thailand. Results: Performance of quality management, budget and finance, data management and communications was considered strong (>90%); premises quality, specimen collection, biosafety, public health functions, supplies management and equipment availability were judged as very good (>70% but ≤90%); while microbiological capacity, staffing, training and supervision, and information technology needed improvement (>60% but ≤70%). Conclusions: This assessment is a major step in Thailand towards development of an optimized and standardized national laboratory network for the detection and reporting of infectious disease that would be compliant with IHR (2005). The participatory strategy employed to adapt an international tool to the Thai contex can also serve as a model for use by other countries in the Region. The participatory approach probably ensured better quality and ownership of the results, while providing critical information to help decision-makers determine where best to invest finite resources.

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