Medical laboratories perform tests on clinical specimens in order to guide the diagnosis and the treatment of patients with suspected tuberculosis/mycobacteriosis. Credibility of these medical laboratories is paramount to the health of the patients relying on these testing services. In Belgium, Sciensano is responsible for the practical organisation of the External Quality Assessment (EQA) of medical laboratories for Mycobacterium species identification and drug susceptibility testing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex to first-line drugs.
This EQA is mainly informative and is designed to evaluate the quality and homogeneity of laboratory results. Therefore, the participating laboratories receive a set of positive cultures from Sciensano for analysis in their laboratory. That way, the EQA allows a participating laboratory to assess their performance in comparison to its peers or to accuracy based reference systems. EQA never replaces the internal Quality Assessment and Management System of the laboratory.
Vanessa Mathys for more information.