Islamic Republic of Iran | Programme areas | Developing a quality management system for accreditation of reference health laboratories

Developing a quality management system for accreditation of reference health laboratories

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Maintaining a healthy and secure environment is an integral part of WHO's effort to promote global health security. However, global health security is challenged by naturally occurring endemic, emerging and re-emerging disease threats. Global health security can also be threatened by the accidental or intentional release of etiological agents of diseases.

Accordingly, quality assurance of the analytical process performed at clinical microbiology laboratories is mandatory. It should be carried out by using external and internal quality control activities.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been working to improve the functional quality of its medical laboratories, in addition to licensing. It has developed  regulations and legislation, and institutes laboratory inspections, which have been part of the responsibility of reference health laboratories since 2007.

An external quality assessment scheme has been implemented in the country for almost 20 years. It allows inter-comparison within laboratories, detection of errors, and evaluation of the suitability of some culture media, reagents, diagnostic kits and antibiotic susceptibility disks for the specific designed purpose.

WHO provides technical support to the reference health laboratory in the Ministry of Health and Medical Education on new methods and approaches, and through refresher training on the external quality assessment scheme.

Key health-related statistics

Total population (x1000) (2016)


Total health expenditure (%general government expenditure)


Maternal mortality per 100 000 live


Primary health care units and centres


Hospital beds per 10000 pop.


Life expectancy (F/M)

75.7 (76.9/74.6)

Source: Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

Islamic Republic of Iran country health profile

Regional Health Observatory