The operationalization of an external quality assurance (EQA) program for ensuring high-quality lab data for management and decision-making of iodine disorder elimination programs in CEE/CIS region, by KAN reference laboratory, as part of IRLI Global Network
The KAN reference lab was established with technical support, funding, and material resources from CDC and UNICEF, aiming to provide regional landscape analysis, harmonized lab guidelines, and a business sustainability plan to monitor IDD in the CEE/CIS region and timely make a decision on iodine disorder elimination programs.
The key result is an operationalized reference laboratory and resource center for iodine measurements in salt and urine, and coordinating an EQA service for national iodine labs in the CEE/CIS region. The monitoring component of universal salt iodization programs in the region are strengthened by performing EQA activities twice a year for their members (18 countries), by analyzing samples with facilitating technology transfer to national laboratories, shared information and development technical standards in collaboration with the salt industry and other sectors. From 2011 the 8 rounds of EQA were provided for member states, with online-mode, confidential access to results of a statistical data.
The KAN reference lab are sustainably operational for micronutrient surveys, and fee-based trainings for regional labs. Participation in the EQA program by most regional labs indicates that the KAN lab was well received and needed. The technical assistance, guidance, and follow-up by CDC and UNICEF in combination with a receptive environment helped ensure success of the project.