Subregional training of engineers and technicians in BSC maintenance, Yerevan, Armenia, 26 September – 5 October 2016
Biosafety cabinets (BSCs) are a key protective piece of equipment in clinical diagnostic laboratories. However, their correct functioning as well as their maintenance are of crucial importance for health professionals to benefit from them as protective equipment. Up to now, mostly in the eastern countries of the Region, there have not been enough qualified and trained engineers that could provide these maintenance services.
In order to build this capacity in tuberculosis (TB) laboratories at national and regional level, the WHO Regional Office for Europe organized a subregional training of technicians and engineers from Armenia, Belarus and the Republic of Moldova. The training took place in Yerevan, Armenia on 26 September–5 October 2016 as part of the framework of the USAID–WHO Regional Platform project in six eastern European countries.
Participants were two representatives from each country, officially nominated by their ministries of health. During the training they learnt various theoretical aspects of TB-laboratory biosafety-cabinet maintenance according to international standards and recommendations. Subsequently they received a practical training by a specialized and certified engineer with extensive work experience within the Region. At the end of the training they had the opportunity to observe the engineer during the installation and maintenance of a biosafety cabinet at the National TB Centre in Armenia.
After the theoretical and practical parts of the training, participants had to prove their knowledge in a written exam. The average success rate was 84.3%. All participants received proof of training.
Participants were also tested on their practical knowledge during two separate practical exams. During these exams participants had to prove their knowledge of the TB biosafety aspects of BSC maintenance. The average success rate was 83.7%.
The participants who were successful in the theoretical and practical exams are expected to take responsibility in their countries for supporting their national TB programmes in their biosafety cabinet maintenance plan.