Laboratory personnel in Antigua receive training in safe transportation of infectious substances

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Twelve (12) participants from Antigua’s Ministry of Health successfully completed the Shipping of Infectious Substances and Laboratory Biosafety Practices training, facilitated by CARPHA International Air Transport Association (IATA) certified trainers.

The training workshop, conducted with funding from the Republic of Korea–CARICOM Cooperation Fund took place from 3rd – 7th June 2024 at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre.

Since 2016, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has been working with Member States on improving national capacities for biosafety and biosecurity, which are key components for national and regional health security. 

More than 300 laboratory personnel from 20 CARPHA Member States (CMS) have been trained in how to safely prepare and ship infectious substances, a crucial activity for effective surveillance and response  

“During the week-long exercise, participants engaged in combined theoretical and practical instructions covering packaging and labeling; materials management and chemical safety; biosafety audits and monitoring; handling and emergency response. The training aimed to equip participants with essential knowledge and practical skills on how to safely prepare and ship infectious materials, and to increase the compliance of CMS with World Health Organization International Health Regulations (WHO IHR),” stated Dr Lisa Indar, Director of Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control at CARPHA.

“Through its Medical Microbiology Laboratory, CARPHA aims to promote and support the achievement of regional health security through compliance with the WHO IHR and increased laboratory capacity to respond to public health threats and/or public health emergencies. Trained and certified shippers within the public health systems allows us to safely and quickly respond to public health challenges, such as emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, and natural disasters at the national and regional levels,” stated Dr Michelle Hamilton, Head of Laboratory Services and Networks at CARPHA.

CARPHA continues to conduct a series of Training Workshops in Member States during the coming months.  

The Training series is supported through the project “Strengthening Health Systems in CARICOM to Address Infectious Diseases”, which is funded by the Republic of Korea through the Republic of Korea-CARICOM Cooperation Fund.

The project supports regional and national level workshops in the Shipping of Infectious Substances, as well as the enhancement of other biosafety and biosecurity measures in CARPHA Member States.

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