NCA, Kazakhstan: Referee for reference laboratories

Reference laboratories are not referred to in the context of accreditation as often as calibration or testing laboratories. However, during COVID-19 epidemic, it was reference laboratories that came into the focus of increased public attention due to stories about the possibility of their production of dangerous bacteria and viruses, which at some point, intentionally or accidentally, can break out of the laboratory walls. This reputational risk was unexpectedly raised in relation to the reference laboratories of Kazakhstan potential involvement in the development of biological weapons. As a full member of ILAC, the National Center of Accreditation (NCA) of the Republic of Kazakhstan would like to tell you about how the activities of reference laboratories are regulated in our country.


Kazakhstan is an exceptionally peaceful country, where more than 100 nationalities live in harmony on a large territory. Commitment to everything that contributes to the continuation of this peaceful life is not just a national ideology – it is woven into the consciousness and subconsciousness of Kazakhstanis. Therefore, any accusations of unseemly actions against human civilization are perceived very painfully in our country.


The history of 2020 ended well when diplomats and the scientific community of our country explained to the public how and what reference laboratories actually work on, and that their activities are kept in strict accordance with the scope of accreditation, that is, exclusively for medical and civil purposes.


There are seven reference laboratories in Kazakhstan. Their listing is approved by the order of the Minister of Health of Kazakhstan, and it is impossible to get into this list without permission and control.


In the Council of Europe, reference laboratories are structural divisions of the Ministry of Health of Kazakhstan, and the tasks that they solve are carried out under the control of the Ministry.


In the Council of Europe, reference laboratories of Kazakhstan are accredited entities under the national standard of ST RK ISO 15195-2018 “Laboratory medicine. Requirements for reference measurement laboratories”, identical to the international standard ISO 15195:2018 Laboratory medicine – Requirements for reference measurement laboratories. Of course, this is not a new standard for the world of standardization, but given 30-years of experience as an independent state, Kazakhstan sees it as a good tool for improving the country’s healthcare system.


Thus, as an accreditation center, we would like to once again remind you of the importance of reference laboratories that focus on studying microorganisms to protect humanity from possible harm.