Among the many facilities at the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge contributing to diagnosis, research and the prevention of infectious diseases, the Laboratoire de Biologie Medicale (LBM) – Medical Laboratory – has been at the forefront of medical biology in Cambodia since its creation in 1995.
“The laboratory’s over-arching mission is to contribute to the care and the clinical management of the patients and to improve public health in Cambodia, including the fight against infectious diseases, with the main objective of meeting the expectations and satisfaction of all clients,” said head of unit Gauthier Delvallez, a medical biologist.
The first lab in Cambodia to carry out free HIV testing and counselling, it continues to provide peace of mind by providing free consultation, free HIV testing and advice.
In 2018 it was awarded ISO 15189 accreditation, becoming the first lab in Cambodia to meet the internationally specified quality management system requirements particular to medical laboratories as developed by the International Organization for Standardization.
This commitment to improving healthcare in the Kingdom can be seen in the lab’s lead position in the fight against infectious diseases, notably tuberculosis (TB).
TB is the specialist area of the lab’s deputy head, Chan Sokleaph, who has been working in the field for 10 years.
“Tuberculosis is still endemic in Cambodia. There are approximately 30,000 cases every year. However, having met the Millennium Development Goals MDG of 2015, with cases down 50 per cent from the 1990 figures, Cambodia has made significant progress in TB control and is working to meet the End TB Strategy and Sustainable Development Goals targets by 2030, aiming to reduce TB incidence of 80 per cent and death rate of 90 per cent,” said Sokleaph.
Always at the forefront of excellence, the lab has set up a Quality Management System in order to ensure the required quality standards at the pre-analytical (sample collection and transportation), analytical (testing) and post-analytical (result delivery and interpretation) levels, as well as making continual improvements to ensure consistent quality results.
The Medical Laboratory carries out more than 150 different types of analyses, working with the Ministry of Health and a number of public hospitals and private clinics, as well as non-governmental organisations across Phnom Penh and several provinces who send samples from their patients.
The continuous implementation of new biomarkers is provided to assist all health professionals. The laboratory service also provides all walk-in patients with free consultation where people can come in without prescription for checkups and advice.
With a dedicated and highly trained team of 35 – including secretaries, nurses, technicians, engineers, quality manager, medical doctors and biologists – the lab is divided into four different areas of speciality.
The Blood Biology Laboratory covers the areas of haematology, coagulation testing, biochemistry, endocrinology and immuno-serology, as well as blood parasitology, myelograms, Fibro Test-Acti Test for liver diseases, tumour markers dosage and semen analysis.
The Microbiology Laboratory is in charge of analysis in bacteriology, mycology and parasitology.
The Mycobacteriology Laboratory provides conventional and molecular diagnostic of TB and atypical mycobacteria disease with adapted biosafety facilities (BSL2+ and BSL3).
The Platform of Molecular Biology ensures the molecular diagnostic of infectious diseases and rapid detection of resistance.
Among others, the Medical Laboratory works with France’s Cerba Laboratory, the European leader in specialised clinical pathology, for very specialised biology tests. It is also subject to external quality control from leading French and European medical companies to ensure the highest standards of testing.
"I have always loved Cambodia since I came here for holiday almost 10 years ago. So I am very proud to have the opportunity to help the Kingdom. The first thing I did when I arrived was to modernise the Microbiology Lab with the implementation of recent technology, with a mass spectrometer for the identification of micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi.
"One of most recent things we have done is the development of the Platform of Molecular Biology with the implementation of diagnosis of sexually transmitted diseases by PCR, such as Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. We have also recently proposed the diagnosis of High-risk Human Papillomavirus by real-time PCR.
"With its long history of providing excellence and insistence on being at the forefront of developments, I am very happy to be at Institut Pasteur du Cambodge and helping in the improvement of public health in Cambodia," said Delvallez proudly.