Last month IQLS participated in the Annual Regional Public Health Laboratory (RPHL) Partnership Forum in Bangkok, Thailand.  The RPHL Network was established in October 2019 under Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and consists of 12 country members including 10 ASEAN member states, Timor-Leste and Nepal and an observant delegate from Papua New Guinea. 

 The Annual RPHL Partnership Forum took place on 15-17 May 2023 at the Miracle Grand Convention Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. The three-day meeting focused on sharing progress and network updates, presenting results of the situational assessment conducted for identifying gaps related to laboratory capacity in the member countries to guide capacitybuilding initiatives for the network, identify opportunities for collaboration, and proposing the “Flagship initiatives” to set the direction for future work.  

 The forum was attended by 123 persons including representatives from the national laboratories from 13 participating countries in Asia and Pacific, and partners including the US Department of Health and Human Services, DTRA-BTRP, WHO SEARO, US CDC, UK HSA, ASEAN Secretariat, CBRN, CHAI, WOAH, Mekong Institute, IQLS, MORU, FHI 360, DUKE-NUS, SEAOHUN, and others.  

 IQLS was represented by Dr. Shruti Malik, International laboratory specialist and Ms. Ananya Muangkong, Communication officer. An overview of IQLS activities being conducted in Southeast Asia including Global Laboratory Leadership Program (GLLP) and Regional Diagnostic Strengthening (RDS) was presented. There were two presentations (one oral & one poster) showcasing the various activities. They received an encouraging response from the attendees, with many member countries expressing interest in the activities and requesting for support and technical assistance to strengthen their national laboratory capacities. GLLP has been identified as one of the flagship activities for the RPHLN 5-year workplan.  

 Also, the event offered the opportunity to meet various national stakeholders and other developmental partners in person to identify and build potential collaborations contributing to laboratory strengthening and capacity building in the Southeast Asia region.