CDC in Kazakhstan: Implementing Quality Control in Laboratories
- U.S. CDC and Kazakhstan worked together to strengthen laboratory quality standards well before the COVID-19 pandemic.
- This investment helped the country in Central Asia respond to COVID-19 using ISO 15189, a standard which specifies the quality management system requirements particular to a medical laboratory.
- Laboratory quality requirements improve test result accuracy and timely response to disease outbreaks to save lives.
Kazakhstan, a country in Central Asia, reported its first case of COVID-19 on March 13, 2020. However, CDC’s preparation to improve Kazakhstan’s laboratory quality control began well before the pandemic by making sure laboratories meet quality standards. The standards help ensure accurate and timely testing for the virus that causes COVID-19. Photo credit: Maxim Malov/ Maxim Malov Videography
Shortly before the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 a global pandemic, the Kazakhstan National Center for Expertise (NCE) passed an important milestone, with support from its international partners: all 16 regional laboratories under the NCE confirmed compliance with the international lab quality management standard, ISO 15189. Photo credit: Maxim Malov/ Maxim Malov Videography
ISO 15189 specifies the quality management system requirements particular to a medical laboratory. It requires medical laboratories to implement a quality management system. This means that all processes and procedures in the laboratories need to be documented, ensuring that laboratorians always understand and follow correct methods when conducting tests. Photo credit: Maxim Malov/ Maxim Malov Videography
CDC played a central role in implementing the standard at National Center for Expertise (NCE) laboratories by helping them organize specialized trainings for staff, conduct assessments of biosecurity and biosafety, and strengthen internal audit programs. Photo credit: Maxim Malov/ Maxim Malov Videography
"The process of implementing the standard was very labor-intensive because each laboratory had to demonstrate that it can do all the tests and all the work that’s expected of them in accordance with the requirements of the standard,” said Yerken Alzhanov, the Director of the Department of Strategic Development and International Collaboration of National Center for Expertise in 2021. Photo credit: Maxim Malov/ Maxim Malov Videography
CDC continued to support National Center for Expertise (NCE) laboratories throughout the pandemic by providing necessary equipment, supplies, and trainings for the staff. As a result, NCE laboratories produced more accurate test results during the COVID-19 pandemic, which helps doctors across the country make better diagnoses, leads to better treatment for patients, and saves lives. Photo credit: Maxim Malov/ Maxim Malov Videography