Global Initiatives to Improve Laboratory Capacity

Some recently published articles describing efforts at improving laboratory quality have come to my attention.
HUB model
A group in Uganda has developed a HUB system for transport of specimens from health facilities and peripheral labs into a centralized laboratory. This system greatly improved the turn-around time for laboratory results. The study did not address the question of improved lab results, but it seems to me that focusing resources in a centralized lab would be a good way to increase the reliability of lab testing. This is something we will consider in Cambodia as the roads improve and transportation from one province to another or from one province to a central lab in Phnom Penh becomes more rapid.
Telemicrobiology
A group in the Netherlands has developed an interactive system for microbiologists in Vietnam, and potentially other countries, to share images of bacterial growth on agar plates with colleagues in the Netherlands. Virtual lab rounds has become common in the US as many labs have moved out of hospitals to large consolidated, off-site labs. Using Skype and TeamViewer software, technologists in hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City and other parts of Vietnam interact with microbiologists in the Netherlands. This is also an approach we will consider here in Cambodia. Already, Joanne Letchford, the DMDP chief scientific officer, interacts on a daily basis with staff in the microbiology labs DMDP supports throughout Cambodia. Having images of bacterial growth and antibiotic susceptibility zone sizes to review with the microbiology techs would surely help with bacterial identification and antibiotic resistance interpretation.