1st conference “Towards a Laboratory Network for Improved Diagnosis in Laos”

January 3, 2014

In Laos, the project to build a laboratory network in the Khammouane province culminated by a meeting to assess the experience and discuss its expansion nationwide. The conference, Towards a Laboratory Network for Improved Diagnosis in Laos, was sponsored by WHO, the European Union, the Rhône-Alpes Region and the Mérieux Foundation.

66 participants from Europe, the United States and Asia gathered for three days at the Christophe Mérieux Infectiology Centre of Laos in Vientiane. International and Laotian experts shared their experience with laboratory personnel and doctors from six provinces and central hospitals in Vientiane, as well as from the National Center for Laboratories and Epidemiology.

A different theme was covered each day with 19 speakers from 11 partner organizations* giving presentations:

  • Day 1: Laboratory Networks, with the objective of helping to establish a national network of laboratories in Laos.
  • Day 2: Laboratory Basics, covering biosafety, quality assurance, training and capacity building, in addition to essential equipment and tests.
  • Day 3: Microbiological Challenges, including the state of the art in diagnosing diseases such as dengue and meliodosis, antibiotic resistance and good practices in antibiotic prescription.

The Mérieux Foundation’s project to build a laboratory network in the Khammouane province serves as an example during discussions on the creation of a national network. For several years, the Mérieux Foundation has worked with the Rhône-Alpes Region and the Lyon Civil Hospitals to reinforce diagnostic testing capabilities in the Khammouane province. With funding from the Fondation AnBer, the Rhône-Alpes Region and Fondation Christophe et Rodolphe Mérieux, the Mérieux Foundation has, in particular, renovated nine district hospital laboratories and provided training programs to laboratory personnel and clinicians.

The work in the Khammouane province will continue throughout 2014. Following the success of this first meeting, the partners intend to organize regular meetings to continue their discussions on the creation of a national laboratory network.

* WHO, LOMWRU (Lao Oxford Mahosot Wellcome Trust Research Unit), NCLE, DCDC (Department of Communicable Disease Control), DTRA (Defense Threat Reduction Agency), DMDP (Diagnostic Microbiology Development Program), Sysmex, School of Basic Sciences, Institut Pasteur of Laos, Liège Teaching Hospital and Fondation Mérieux