Recent Activities - 2016

October 2016: HIV EQAS Training Delivered in Tajikistan

Between 24 October and 11 November 2016, NRL (represented by Wayne Dimech, Susie Braniff and Marlene Tschaepe) travelled to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, for the first visit under a project with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Tajikistan, entitled “Technical assistance for the implementation of External Quality Assessment Schemes for the Republican AIDS Centre HIV/AIDS Laboratory Network”.

UNDP Tajikistan had requested NRL to provide training to the Republican AIDS Centre and HIV/AIDS Laboratory Network of Tajikistan, on the provision of and participation in External Quality Assessment Schemes (EQAS) for HIV serology

The visit comprised three main activities:

i) Situational analysis of the HIV/AIDS laboratory network in Tajikistan (24 – 27 October 2016).

For this activity, NRL visited 4 representative laboratories with the aim of understanding their current capacity, infrastructure and resources relating to EQAS provision and participation:

  • Republican AIDS Prevention Centre (RAC);

  • National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL);

  • Dushanbe City HIV Centre;

  • Regional AIDS Centre, Kurgan-Tyube.

 

Following the site visits and situational analysis, a stakeholder meeting was conducted on 28 October 2016 to address key findings and recommendations. The stakeholder meeting was attended by RAC; UNDP Tajikistan; Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tajikistan; Population Services International (PSI); and the International Centre for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP).

Following the site visits and situational analysis, a stakeholder meeting was conducted on 28 October 2016 at the Hotel Lotus, Dushanbe, to address key findings and recommendations. The stakeholder meeting was attended by RAC; UNDP Tajikistan; Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tajikistan; Population Services International (PSI); and the International Centre for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP).

ii) EQAS provision theory training workshop (31 October – 8 November 2016).

The RAC is the national reference laboratory for HIV/AIDS in Tajikistan. Through support from UNDP Tajikistan, the RAC plan to establish an EQAS programme for HIV serology and provide panels to regional and district HIV/AIDS laboratories throughout Tajikistan. The workshop was attended by 8 participants from RAC, and covered the management aspects of organising and coordinating a national EQAS as well as the technical components of production and quality control. The participants also developed draft documentation for a pilot national EQAS. It is anticipated that NRL will mentor RAC through the delivery of a pilot national EQAS in 2017.

iii) EQAS participation (OASYS) training workshop (9 – 11 November 2016).

This workshop was attended by 12 participants from RAC and 4 Regional HIV/AIDS centres (Kurgan-Tyube, Kulyab, Khujand, GBAO), who are enrolled to participate in the NRL EQAS HIV serology and viral load programmes for 2017. This training session provided an introduction to EQAS testing, uploading of the EQAS results to the Oneworld Accuracy System (OASYS) and quality assurance procedures.

NRL would like to thank staff of RAC and Regional HIV/ AIDS Centres for their participation and hard work during the training workshops; RAC, NPHRL, Dushanbe City HIV Centre and Regional AIDS Centre (Kurgan-Tyube) for their time and hospitality during the site visits; and UNDP for their support of laboratory strengthening activities in Tajikistan.

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NRL is designated a WHO Collaborating Centre for Diagnostics and Laboratory Support for HIV and AIDS and Other Blood-borne Infections