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Country: Kazakhstan

Program Name: Regional Iodine Reference Laboratory

Objective/Purpose(s):

  • Establish a regional network for urinary iodine analysis in CEE/CIS countries

Background:

Iodine deficiency diseases (IDD) are the main causes of brain damage and mental handicaps worldwide. Although IDD are treatable, they threaten the health of more than a billion people.  Urinary iodine is measured in order to be sure that a population is appropriately supplied with iodized salt and to evaluate current iodine consumption.  However, appropriate monitoring of iodine consumption within a population is difficult due to application of different methods to determine iodine concentration in urine.  Diversity of analysis methods, significant differences in the qualifications of specialists, and disparate capacities of laboratories located in various parts of the world make it difficult to compare the levels of iodine consumption by populations in different regions within the framework of various programs.  There is a lack of qualified programs, specialist and laboratories in the CEE/CIS region to perform appropriate urinary iodine analyses, thus a regional reference laboratory is needed to carry out these tasks.

Recent Achievements and/or Key Findings:

  • Quality Control training was provided in November 2010.  Ten thousand QC samples were prepared and the characterization of all the samples was performed at the KAN laboratory, and the samples were subsequently prepared for distribution.  
  • The Kazakh Academy of Nutrition formulated the following name for their Regional External Quality Control Program: “QUICK” (Quality of Urinary Iodine Control by KAN).
  • In June 2011, the Ministry of Health of Kazakhstan, UNICEF, KAN, and personnel from 15 CEE/CIS region laboratories attended the Regional Network of Resource Laboratories for Iodine workshop.  The goal of the event was to reinforce monitoring of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) elimination through Universal Salt Iodization
  • In 2012, regional labs were invited to participate in quality assurance testing and 14 labs are currently participating
  • A laboratory renovation and re-stocking was under-taken in 2013 to bring to lab fully up-to-date

Potential Impact:

QUICK will assist the CEE/CIS region laboratories to provide external quality assurance, collaborate on developing standards of operations, and provide training and assistance as needed to provide an effective system to eliminate IDD.  This is the only lab in the region, and in addition to iodine analyses, the lab plans to begin analyzing additional nutritional biomarkers in the near future.

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