• Medical Research Institute - Sri Lanka

    The premier medical research institute in Sri Lanka
  • Medical Research Institute - Sri Lanka

    The premier medical research institute in Sri Lanka
  • Medical Research Institute - Sri Lanka

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National External Quality Assessment Scheme [NEQAS] in Clinical Microbiology


              Dr. Lilani Karunanayake, Head/Quality Control Laboratory

  1. Introduction

Quality assurance (QA) is an essential component of a clinical bacteriology laboratory. Laboratories practicing the principles of quality assurance generate reliable, relevant and cost-effective results, delivered timely and in the best interest of the patient.

NEQAS in clinical microbiology was commenced in 1997 by Dr. R.S.B. Wickramasinghe and Dr. M. Atapattu, Consultant Bacteriologists. It is the sole program that is conducted uninterrupted for 23 years from 1997 – 2020.

  • Objectives

The main objective of external quality assessment (EQA) is to establish inter-laboratory comparability of results and thereby to improve performance. The specific objectives of our program are to,

  • improve laboratory performance of clinical diagnostic microbiology
  • evaluate internal quality control measures
  • encourage use of standard reagents / methodology in identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing in microbiology
  • facilitate information exchange among participant laboratories and the EQA scheme
  • stimulate performance improvement and to ensure credibility of the laboratory
  • support accreditation of microbiology laboratories

The Quality Control laboratory of the Department of Bacteriology, Medical Research Institute is the sole Proficiency Test Provider in the National External Quality Assessment Scheme (NEQAS) in Clinical Microbiology for the last 22 years in Sri Lanka.

Postal Address:           Quality Control Laboratory

Department of Bacteriology

Medical Research Institute

Dr. Danister de Silva Mawatha

Colombo 08, Sri Lanka

Telephone: 0094112693532-35          EXT: laboratory-353, consultant – 332

Fax: 0094112691495 (Director office)

E: controlquality97@yahoo.com


  1. Dr. Lilani Karunanayake, M.B.,B.S., PG Dip (Medical Microbiology), MD        Consultant Clinical Microbiologist, Head Department of Bacteriology, Lead and Technical advisor of the NEQAS program                           
  2.  Mrs. K.A.K.C. Kulatunga, B.Sc. (Special), MSc. (General Microbiology) Senior Research Officer, Coordinator of NEQAS program
  3. Mrs. A. Vayishnavi, BSc. in Medical Laboratory Sciences (Special)

Senior Medical Laboratory Technologist, Coordinator (Technical) NEQAS program

  • Miss. K.D.D. Karavita, BSc in Medical Laboratory Sciences (Special)

Medical Laboratory Technologist

  • Type of Proficiency Test program

PT program uses the qualitative scheme and expect participant laboratories to identify specific organisms their susceptibilities and gram staining.

  • Scope of tests

Gram stain

Bacterial identification

Antibiotic Susceptibility Test (AST) result

  • Participation in the scheme

The participation is voluntary. Those who intend to enroll in the NEQAS should make a request through the relevant officials to the above address. Samples are issued free of charge to government hospitals and institutions whereas Universities and private laboratories are charged an annual fee of Rs.3000/=.

  • Distribution cycle

Surveys are conducted quarterly in February, May, August and November. Each participating laboratory is identified by a confidential code name. The packages containing the samples and reporting sheets are sent to all the participants. With prior notice participating laboratories can pick up the package from the Quality Control Laboratory.

Each participant receives a confidential individual hard copy on their performance throughout the year. The participants who have been assessed by three successive surveys, a certificate is issued for participation.

  1. Confidentiality and ethical responsibility

The reports, scores and comments sent to individual participants are maintained with strict confidentiality.

January 2020

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