The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on the government of Eritrea to increase its budget allocation to the Ministry of Health to scale the microbiology laboratory at the national and zonal levels.

WHO made the call after it assessed the capacities needed to upgrade the microbiology laboratory, which is part of the National Health Laboratory (NHL).

The NHL of Eritrea hosts the unique microbiology (bacteriology) site for culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing for the whole country.

According to the global health body, the NHL receives an average of 1300 to 1500 samples, mostly urine at 44 percent and blood culture samples at 28.5 percent every year.

WHO, in a statement, said urgent training of laboratory staff on sample analysis, antimicrobial susceptibility testing, biosafety and quality assurance was needed alongside improving of bacterial identification through introduction of bacteria identification kits such as API.

The assessment revealed the need for renovating the NHL microbiology laboratory to meet the biosafety standards.

‘Although the NHL microbiology unit is doing well in many of the key functions, the situational analysis of the current activities revealed gaps in [five] modules of organisation and managements, documents, consumables and reagents, biosafety and public health’, the statement read.

‘The lowest score was registered for the documents function. It was evident that although the scores of some modules were good, there is still a need for improvement on many aspects’.

WHO recommended automation of some sample analysis and introduction of molecular testing methods for the reference laboratory.

WHO also called on international technical and financial partners to help the Eritrean Ministry of Health to upgrade the NHL.

It noted that the government of Eritrea had already initiated the development of the Third Health Sector Strategic Development Plan 2022–2026.

Source: WHO

Photo source: WHO


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