Since 2016, UKHSA in collaboration with National Institute of Health (NIH) Pakistan has held regular small group network meetings with the technical leads from public health reference labs across Pakistan. Over the years, these small groups for labs have proved to be an excellent forum for those involved, providing an opportunity for technical public health leads to share learning, track progress and identify areas for improvement.

A recent example of success at country level was the agreement on the Omicron variant and genome sequencing protocols and standard operating procedures, including sharing of resources and expertise. Similarly, the group led on the discussions around the future sustainability of labs post COVID for both National/NIH and provincial level, reinforcing the importance of   communication and collaboration in these uncertain times.

Pictured: Dr Mohammad Salman, Chief Public Reference Lab Division National Institute of Health (NIH) Pakistan and Dr Mohammad Sartaj, Country Lead for UKHSA - IHR Project chairing the small group for public health reference labs on December, 06, 2021