The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP) organized a kick-off meeting for the “Strengthening Armenian Laboratory Network for disease detection, disease surveillance and updating IHR requirements” project. The four-day meeting, involving representatives from the Armenian Ministries of Health and Agriculture, was held at the American University of Armenia in Yerevan from 10-13 February 10-13 and was led by Integrated Quality Laboratory Services (IQLS) experts.
The primary goal was to bring the key ministerial partners together under the umbrella of the one-health approach, build relationships among the human and health information networks and improve the understanding of Armenia’s national laboratory systems’ strengths and gaps. IQLS presented the goals, work schedule, methodology and expected outputs of the projects.
Currently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health are undertaking major reforms of their laboratory services that aim at improving their legal framework to respond to international standards of performance (laboratories, methodologies, reagents and kits), implementing a comprehensive laboratory network, including precise definitions of laboratory levels of activities; implementing quality management systems; launching an external quality assessment program and providing supervision of the network. These efforts will allow Armenia to move towards compliance with the updated International Health Regulations (2005) and Animal Health requirements.
The IQLS team will be enhancing Armenia’s capabilities through the improvement of the laboratory services structure, by conducting proficiency testing and developing an external quality assessment (EQA) program strategy, by implementing quality management systems (QMS) and conducting a veterinary laboratory system assessment.