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Joint WHO–CDC Conference on Health Laboratory Quality Systems, Lyon, France, 9–11 April 2008
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    Abbreviations and acronyms -- Summary -- 1. Introduction -- 2. Setting the stage: why quality systems are essential for good laboratory practices -- 3. How to institute integrated quality systems in the national laboratory systems -- 4. Successes and challenges in implementing quality standards -- 5. How to reduce pre- and post analytical errors? -- 6. Breakout group discussions -- 7. Strategic frameworks for instituting a global partnership among all -- 8. Breakout group presentations and discussions (plenary) -- 9. Conclusions and recommendations -- 10. Closing remarks -- Bibliography -- Annex 1. Joint WHO-CDC statement: Laboratory quality systems in the 21st century -- Annex 2. Conclusions and recommendations of the working groups -- Annex 3. Agenda -- Annex 4.1. List of participants -- Annex 4.2. Composition of breakout working groups.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) Lyon Office for National Epidemic Preparedness and Response and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, USA, organized a joint Conference on Health Laboratory Quality Systems from 9 to 11 April 2008. The specific objectives were: To review and discuss the quality systems suitable for health laboratories; To discuss the development of laboratory quality systems within well-organized integrated national laboratory plans; To share successful experiences and challenges of countries that have already made steps towards meeting the objectives; To discuss other important issues relevant to the development of quality systems on a national basis.

    The conference brought together over 200 health professionals from more than 70 countries and included laboratory professionals, senior government officers, academic institutions specialists, and staff from headquarters, regional and in-country offices of both CDC and WHO.

    The conference included presentations on why quality systems were important, how to introduce such systems into resource-constrained countries, the value of integrating systems with existing disease programme laboratory networks and the challenges faced by those implementing such systems. In particular, an advocacy statement had been agreed upon, which was a standalone WHO – CDC joint document to be used by individual delegates when advocating for investment in laboratory quality with their governments.

    Four breakout groups discussed how to develop national laboratory standards, external quality assessment (EQA), the advocacy statement, and integrated approaches to quality programmes.


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