The Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Reference Laboratory (ARSRL) aims to form a professional network of sentinel regional and central laboratories that will provide quality antimicrobial resistance surveillance data through promotion and dissemination of standardized methods of in-vitro antimicrobial susceptibility testing thus determining the current status and developing trends of bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents in the country.
The Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Reference Laboratory (ARSRL) is an aerobic bacteriology laboratory that conducts microbiological and molecular bacteriology testing; and laboratory data management. The ARSRL serves as the coordinating and reference laboratory for the Department of Health (DOH) Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program (ARSP).
ARSP is a laboratory-based surveillance program established in 1988 by the Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program, a committee created by virtue of the Department Of Health’s Department Order 339-J S 1988. The Committee was tasked to:
- Establish a national surveillance program for antimicrobial resistance.
- Standardized laboratory procedures for antibiotic susceptibility testing.
- Conduct meetings/seminars for national and regional personnel.
- Collect and analyse data on the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance of organisms of clinical and public health importance.
- Disseminate information on antimicrobial resistance trends.
The establishment of Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program was the country’s response to the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group on the Regional Information Network on Antimicrobial Resistance that a surveillance program be initiated among member states of the western pacific region. The program’s primary objective was to provide critical inputs to the DOH’s efforts to promote rational antibiotic use by determining the current status and developing trends of antimicrobial resistance of selected bacteria to specific antimicrobials.
As the coordinating laboratory for ARSP, ARSRL utilizes standard methods for culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing as well as phenotypic and genotypic subtyping methods to detect presence of antimicrobial resistance among aerobic bacteria. The reference laboratory also regularly participates in the WHO and other international external quality assurance programs. Surveillance data is managed through WHONET and summary reports generated annually are provided to stakeholders. Laboratory services and trainings are offered regularly by the reference laboratory.