CARPHA facilitates training in Guyana for safe transportation of infectious substances

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

From May 20 to 27, 2024, 16 participants from the Ministry of Health Guyana successfully completed the Shipping of Infectious Substances and Laboratory Biosafety Practices training facilitated by CARPHA IATA certified trainers. The training workshop was held at the Guyana’s National Public Health Laboratory and was made possible through funding from the Republic of Korea-CARICOM Cooperation Fund.

“The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) underscores the importance of maintaining International Air Transport Association (IATA) certification and the Agency has been working since 2016 with Member States on improving national capacities for biosafety and biosecurity, which are key components for national and regional health security. To date, more than 300 laboratory personnel from CARPHA Member States (CMS) have been trained in how to safely prepare shipments of infectious substances,” stated Dr. Joy St. John Executive Director at CARPHA.

The recently concluded training was aimed at increasing the cadre of persons in Guyana 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). Participants engaged in an intensive curriculum that combined theoretical and practical instruction covering a range of topics including waste disposal; materials management and chemical safety; biosafety audits and monitoring; shipping of infectious substances/practical assessment packaging; handling and emergency response.

CARPHA, through its Medical Microbiology Laboratory has been working within the Caribbean Region 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.

“Our region continues to face both old and new public health challenges. These include non-communicable diseases, natural disasters, and emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. As such, it is important that we have the capacity to respond at the national and regional levels to safely and quickly respond to these situations. Having teams of trained and certified shippers in the public health systems allows us to do just that,” stated Dr Lisa Indar, Director of Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control at CARPHA.

In continuation of this programme, CARPHA will 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.