A workshop for strengthening the national Central Asian and Eastern European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (CAESAR) network, and to discuss and practice the use of the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) guidelines in microbiological laboratories took place on 10 June 2016. It is part of the biennial collaborative agreement (2016–2017) between WHO and the Ministry of Health in antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The workshop was implemented with support of the Ministry of Health national focal point for AMR and the Ministry’s multisectoral committee for AMR control in cooperation with the Macedonian Association of Medical Microbiologists, the Institute of Public Health, the Institute of Microbiology and Parasitology at the Medical Faculty of Skopje and the Center for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation (Studiorum).

Participants were specialists in microbiology from the Institute of Public Health, the 10 regional public health centres and the Institute of Microbiology and Parasitology at the Medical Faculty of Skopje.

The workshop had several aims.

  • Present and stimulate discussions on national breakpoint tables according to EUCAST guidelines.
  • Demonstrate and work with national breakpoint tables, and read and interpret results according to EUCAST guidelines.
  • Discuss internal and external quality assessment and control to ensure that products, processes and services will satisfy quality requirements, and to assure the accuracy and precision of laboratory
    procedures, equipment and materials.

The final goal is to implement the EUCAST guidelines in all microbiological laboratories that are members in the national CAESAR network by the end of September 2016.

The workshop was divided into 2 sections. The first was theoretical with 59 participants from 26 laboratories taking part. The second involved practical laboratory work with 32 participants divided into 3 groups. The work focused on performing disk-diffusion tests, as well as reading and interpreting the results from the disk-diffusion testing, including explanations of the mechanisms of resistance, according to EUCAST guidelines.

Implementation of EUCAST guidelines in routine work will ensure standardization and allow comparison of all microbiological laboratories in the country with member countries in the CAESAR network and EU countries.

The country joined the CAESAR network in 2013.