Recent Activities - 2020

NRL Supporting the South East Asia Laboratory Strengthening Project

The South East Asia Laboratory Strengthening (SEALAB) project aims to reinforce national health systems in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar through strengthening laboratory capacity to detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks of a potentially pandemic nature.  Funded by the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australia, and in collaboration with the SEALAB lead organization, the Mérieux Foundation, and Integrated Quality Laboratory Services (IQLS), NRL’s role is to support and strengthen the quality of testing being performed. This activity has commenced in the following countries:

MYANMAR

 

On 13 October 2020, the first Country Coordination Meeting was held with Myanmar representatives- Professor Dr Htay Htay Tin (Chair), Deputy Director General National Health Laboratory (NHL) and NHL staff, where objectives were defined as follows:

  1. For the Mérieux Foundation, as the SEALAB lead, to present the SEALAB objectives, workplan, and activities to partners in Myanmar, to initiate the implementation of the project;
     

  2. To strengthen and reinforce activities in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic; and
     

  3. To provide information on and discuss SEALAB activities with partners in Myanmar.

 

All parties agreed to work in close partnership with Myanmar to ensure that the support provided is effective, relevant, and customised.

CAMBODIA

On 23 October 2020, the Bureau of Medical Laboratory Services (BMLS), Cambodia held a meeting with NRL to discuss the lessons learnt and achievements in combating COVID-19 in Cambodia.

The objectives of meeting were for NRL to gather information from the laboratories currently performing COVID-19 testing in Cambodia on current testing and quality assurance (QA) practices; discuss any challenges they may be facing; and discuss how NRL may provide support through SEALAB. 

Chaired by Dr Ly Sovann, Director of CDC at the Ministry of Health in Cambodia, meeting participants included in-country partners from the following organisations: BMLS, laboratories performing or potentially performing COVID-19 testing (Institut Pasteur Cambodia, Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory /University of Health Sciences, Siem Reap and Battambong), DFAT (Australian Embassy in Cambodia), World Health Organisation Cambodia Country Office, the Mérieux Foundation, IQLS and Diagnostic Microbiology Development Program (DMDP).

The meeting discussed the potential ways that NRL can provide support to laboratories around COVID-19 testing quality, that will not duplicate current activities already happening in-country. 

Participants from the Cambodia meeting

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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