Fondation Mérieux co-organizes the 1st Conference of the National Medical Microbiology Laboratory Network in Cambodia

January 8, 2013 - Phnom Penh (Cambodia)


The National Bureau of Laboratories of the Ministry of Health of Cambodia, the World Health Organization in Cambodia and the Southeast Asian Office of Fondation Mérieux, represented respectively by Dr Sokunna SAU, Dr Alex COSTA and Dr Nicolas STEENKESTE held on 25 October 2012 the first meeting of the National Medical Microbiology Laboratory Network.

The conference was attended by 40 participants from hospital laboratories in Cambodia. The CDC (US Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention), the DMDP (Diagnostic Microbiology Development Programme), and the NAMRU2 (The US Naval Medical Research Unit Two) who actively support the network were also present.

Professor H.E Eng Huot, Dr Alex Costa and Dr Nicolas Steenkeste opened the conference. Professor H.E Eng Huot recalled the importance of the role of laboratories in fighting against infectious diseases, and presented his high expectations for sharing experiences and knowledge.

The need to network microbiology laboratories was highlighted. The aim is to strengthen laboratory capacity and to improve existing practices. The implementation of a process of quality management and risk management in the laboratory was a strong element of the interventions.

Indeed, the WHO has made participants sensitive to the latter notably with different tools to evaluate laboratories and the results of an evaluation system of quality management conducted in several laboratories. This evaluation showed the importance of improving laboratory practices (maintenance, equipment, hygiene) to ensure a sufficient level of safety and recognised at national level.

Fondation Mérieux presented the significant involvement of the Ministry of Health of Cambodia in making this dynamic network, thanks to its willingness to join the GLOBE network. Dr Nicolas Steenkeste explained the possibilities offered by this information sharing tool, in recalling his goal: to improve the quality of diagnosis.

From these objectives and taking into account the difficulties encountered (financial, human and technical limitations), a strategy and a plan of action have been proposed. These actions and activities are divided into 6 areas:

  • Develop the structural organization of the laboratory network
  • Evaluate each laboratory network
  • Strengthen the system of quality management
  • Strengthen the capacity of Human Resources
  • Improve equipment management
  • Establish an accreditation system for the laboratories