Asia Pacific Strategy for Strengthening Health Laboratory Services (2010–2015)

The Regional Committee,

Recognizing that strong health systems are the foundation that underpins the ability of all health programmes to deliver better results and that laboratory services are a critical component of health systems;

Reaffirming that primary health care, including the values of equity and universal access, forms the guiding principle for efforts to strengthen health systems;

Recalling resolution WPR/RC59.R4 on Health Systems Strengthening and Primary Health Care which noted the Strategic Plan for Strengthening Health Systems in the Western Pacific Region as an appropriate and useful framework to guide work in the Region on health systems strengthening, including work in laboratories;

Recognizing that the strengthening of laboratory services is an important component of both the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases (APSED) and the International Health Regulations (2005);

Acknowledging the need to enhance access and strengthen the local and national capacity of each country in the areas of quality, safety and bench techniques, and to provide accurate, timely and reliable services for diagnosis, treatment and monitoring, whether in public health or clinical services;

Recognizing also the need to further strengthen intercountry, interregional and global collaboration in strengthening health laboratory networks,

1. ENDORSES the Asia Pacific Strategy for Strengthening Health Laboratory Services

2. URGES Member States:

(1) to use the Asia Pacific Strategy for Strengthening Health Laboratory Services
(2010–2015) as a strategic framework to guide the development of coherent national frameworks for health laboratory services;

(2) to provide adequate human, material and financial resources to strengthen local and national capacities for the implementation of national plans or equivalents;

(3) to provide adequate and rational funding support to laboratories and to ensure that the financing plan for laboratory services is part of the country's overall health budget;

(4) to establish country-specific minimum standards for health laboratories at different levels and, where appropriate, a national body for accreditation of laboratories;

(5) to develop appropriate infrastructure for biosafety and biosecurity;

(6) to further strengthen and contribute to intercountry, interregional and multisectoral collaboration by actively participating in regional and subregional networks;

3. REQUESTS the Regional Director:

(1) to use the Asia Pacific Strategy for Strengthening Health Laboratory Services
(2010–2015) as a strategic framework to guide support from WHO to Member States in the Region;

(2) to develop a regional workplan to further implement the Strategy, building on needs and priorities identified by capacity assessments and providing appropriate linkages with the laboratory components of related strategies and programmes;

(3) to provide coordinated technical assistance to Member States in strengthening health laboratory services based on primary health care principles;

(4) to assist Member States to develop minimum standards at different levels of health laboratories for undertaking essential tests, which should include human resources, infrastructure, equipment, reagents, technology, quality systems and referral mechanisms;

(5) to assist Member States in mobilizing resources from international developmental partners for strengthening of sustainable health laboratory services, where appropriate;

(6) to strengthen intercountry, interregional and multisectoral networks and to establish effective collaboration mechanisms;

(7) to develop tools and indicators for monitoring and evaluating implementation of the Strategy.

Eighth meeting

[1] Annex 1 of document WPR/RC60/9.

25 September 2009

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