The Diagnostic Microbiology Development Program (DMDP) has been working with the University of Health Sciences (UHS) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia since 2011 to produce blood culture broth bottles, agar plates, and media for identification of bacteriological agents of disease. Since 2013, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has funded this work.
In April 2016, a conference organized by DMDP was held to assess the current situation with media production in Cambodia. Participants identified four key factors that supported expansion of the media production facility.
- DMDP demonstrated that quality media production is possible in Cambodia, albeit with appropriate input of financial and technical support.
- There are no commercial media companies in Cambodia.
- There are an increasing number of diagnostic microbiology laboratories.
- Integrated Quality Laboratory Services (IQLS) expressed interest in supporting the certification (ISO9001:2015).
Subsequent to this meeting, DMDP and the UHS, under the leadership of Professor Vonthanak Saphonn, Rector of UHS, agreed upon a plan to expand and renovate the media production laboratory. The facility includes a training laboratory for UHS and the Technical School for Medical Care (TSMC) students. The relationship with UHS will also help to assure sustainability of the facility in an environment where leadership considers the CMML a public health responsibility. The Board of Trustees of UHS approved the plan in June 2017. After eight years of building, training and mentorship the United States Government-supported DMDP, along with the Ministry of Health and UHS formally opened the Central Media Making Laboratory (CMML) in Phnom Penh at UHS on Friday 16 November 2019.
DMDP contracted with IQLS, whose aims are to promote and strengthen laboratory activities and capacity globally. IQLS supported the CMML in obtaining ISO certification (ISO 9001:2015) February 2019. The work of IQLS in partnership with DMDP included quality assurance, laboratory management, biosafety/biosecurity, protocol development, laboratory design for renovation, and other activities essential to certification and renovation of the facility.
To assure sustainability, DMDP and DTRA have committed to transferring ownership of the CMML to UHS in August of 2019. DMDP also committed to continue the technical support of IQLS until February 2021 to assist UHS with training, management, marketing of the CMML media, and maintaining ISO certification.
There are now more than 15 microbiology laboratories in Cambodia that provide clinical bacteriology services to inpatients and outpatients. In addition, Angkor Children’s Hospital[JR1] , Naval Medical Research Unit 2 (NAMRU2), and the National Public Health Laboratory obtain media from the CMML. The media produced in the CMML are distributed free of charge to government diagnostic microbiology laboratories supported by DMDP. This facility will improve and support the ability of Cambodian microbiology laboratories to isolate and identify pathogens and enhance bio-surveillance response.
Profliclave and automated equipment in lab.