Remarks by Chargé d‘Affairs Michael Newbill at the Hand Over Ceremony of ISO 15189 Plus Accreditation Certificate

National Institute of Public Health
September 9, 2019
(As prepared for delivery)

His Excellency Mam Bun Heng, Minister of Health; His Excellency Dr. Sok Pheng, Secretary of State for Health; His Excellency Prof. Sophoan Vonntanak, Dean of University of Health Sciences; Prof. Ung Sam An, Advisor to Minister of Health; His Excellency Dr. Hok Kim Cheng, Director General for Health; Prof. Chhea Chhorvann, Director of the National Institute of Public Health; Dr Rachel Albalak, Country Director of CDC; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.

I am pleased to be here to join the handover ceremony of the ISO 15189 Plus Accreditation Certificate to the outpatient department laboratory of the National Institute of Public Health.

Cambodia has been a leader in several important areas of public health.  In July 2017, for example, Cambodia was recognized as one of only seven countries to achieve the global 90-90-90 goals for successful control of their HIV epidemic. That is, 90% of people living with HIV in Cambodia know their status; 90% of these people are on treatment; and 90% of people on treatment have achieved viral suppression.

Today, we recognize Cambodia and the Cambodian Ministry of Health for another remarkable achievement. The National Institute of Public Health Laboratory is the first public laboratory in Cambodia to be certified by the Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare for achieving ISO 15189 Plus accreditation. Few laboratories globally are able to achieve such a high standard. Congratulations!

Laboratory services are essential for both public health and clinical medicine. Health laboratories support the care of individual patients as well as help prevent and detect outbreaks.

Today’s achievement is one part of the Ministry of Health’s goal of improving the quality of public and private laboratory services nationwide to ensure timely and accurate results for patient care and outbreak response. The National Institute of Public Health and Bureau Medical Laboratory have played a major role in helping the Ministry of Health reach this goal. In addition to achieving ISO 15189 Plus accreditation at its outpatient department laboratory, the National Institute of Public Health laboratory is working to raise standards at labs across the country.  They are providing laboratory quality management and good laboratory practices training to 23 laboratories currently, with more to be enrolled in the future.

I would like to thank Minister Mam Bun Heng and staff of the Ministry of Health for your leadership and support for this critical achievement.  I would also like to thank my colleagues from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S CDC) and the PEPFAR program for providing technical and financial support to this project.

Health represents the largest development investment of the United States in Cambodia and is at the heart of the cooperation between our two countries.  The NIPH laboratory achieved ISO accreditation as part of a larger collaboration between the United States Government and the Cambodian Ministry of Health.  This includes support to combat HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria, as well as technical assistance in areas such as health information systems and outbreak response.

I look forward to hearing about the great things that will come out of this new achievement.  Most importantly, I hope it will help Cambodia to save lives by enabling clinicians to base their treatment on timely and accurate diagnoses.

Thank you again for inviting me to join this ceremony today.  The United States is very proud to collaborate with Cambodia to improve the health of all Cambodians.

Thank you very much.