OECD highlights the progress made in laboratory systems in the EU/EEA since the implementation of EULabCap

ECDC comment

The OECD report ‘Health at a Glance: Europe 2018’ presents comparative analyses of the health status of EU citizens and the performance of the health systems. In the chapter ‘Public health capacity to control infectious disease threats’ OECD summarises the EULabCap indicator results and highlights the national improvements made in 24 EU countries since 2013.

Strong health systems depend on the ability to detect emerging diseases accurately in time to stop outbreaks and prevent major international crises such as the recent Ebola epidemic. Hence, it is important that laboratory systems have the necessary capabilities and capacities for reliable communicable disease surveillance control.

The assessments done through the EULabCap system show that 24 EU countries have reached the target set at the EU level by taking actions to address gaps. Capabilities to diagnose EU notifiable diseases and antimicrobial resistance as well as laboratory contribution to surveillance networks are well in line with EU legislation and case definitions across the EU.

However, some gaps and inefficiencies still need to be addressed, including upgrading surveillance programmes to integrate microbial genomic sequencing methods.