External quality assurance programme
Why is this a priority?
The surveillance of arboviral diseases (Chikungunya, Dengue, Zika...) is a priority for the region.
An important component of this surveillance is based on the ability of laboratories of IOC Member States to identify these viruses reliably and rapidly.
It is therefore essential to ensure the quality of diagnosis and research, in particular through an external quality assessment programme (EQA) to ensure that laboratories analysing the same sample, produce comparable results.
What is its added value?
- The regional programme provides its Member States with very specific expertise: the programme is guided by an external consultant specialized in the quality assurance of biology laboratories. The national
- reference centre for arboviruses in France (IRBA - IMTSSA, Marseille) is one of the programme’s partners, and the reference laboratory is the virology laboratory of the Pasteur Institute in French Guiana.
- The programme ensures that the same quality standards are in place in laboratories in the region and thus allows them to speak the same language and use the same technical procedures.
- The programme objectively evaluates the laboratories’ diagnostic performance and assists them with a process of on going improvement.
Key facts and figures
Since 2013, five molecular biology laboratories of IOC Member States have been participating
|The programme has helped to significantly improve the quality of results, despite increasing levels of difficulty (co-infections, various dengue serotypes, insertion of other flaviviruses, greater geographical diversity of viral strains...)|
|Only 2 of 5 laboratories successfully passed the first assessment in 2012; all 5 passed the last inspection in 2015, demonstrating the usefulness and impact of this programme||In June 2016 the Zika virus was inserted in the programme to prepare laboratories in case an outbreak occurs in the region|
And in the future ?
The integration of certain animal health laboratories is planned for when the programme expands to include the Rift Valley Fever virus.