The Ministry of Health, through the National Health Laboratory is responsible for ensuring provision of efficient, reliable quality health laboratory services to all citizens of Timor Leste. Like most developing countries, Timor Leste faces difficulties in meeting the expected standards due to various challenges, such as human resources, infrastructure and inadequate financial resources. On the other hand, considerable effort that has gone into improving health laboratory services has been mainly focused on specific disease control programmes such as: vaccine preventable diseases, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.

As a result, laboratory services are often fragmented and other parts of the laboratory system are accorded low priority with inadequate allocation of resources. Lack of national health laboratory policy and plan undermine efforts to deliver comprehensive and integrated quality laboratory services to the people of Timor Leste as envisioned on the Timor Leste Health Sector Strategic Plan 2011 -2030.

The following components are essential for a coherent national framework:
  1. Formulation of a national laboratory policy that defines the organizational, financial and legal measures and support services needed to strengthen the health laboratory services;
  2. Identification of a national focal point and establishment of a national laboratory coordinating committee
  3. Establishment of a regulatory authority for the health laboratory services
  4. Development of minimum essential requirements for laboratory services at each level of the laboratory network, including physical infrastructure, tests, techniques, major equipment and human resources
  5. Development of a National Laboratory Strategic Plan that outlines strategic objectives and appropriate activities to implement the policy
  6. Identification of adequate and sustained financial resources.

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