Meeting in Kazakhstan highlights the importance of regional initiatives to strengthen laboratory biosafety and quality

WHO

Dr Caroline Brown of WHO/Europe provides input at the 4th annual conference of the Biosafety Association for central Asia and the Caucasus, 18-20 September 2012

The 4th Annual conference of the Biosafety Association for central Asia and the Caucasus (BACAC) was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, 18-20 September 2012. It was organized in cooperation with the International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC), with support from the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom, the U.S. Defense Threat Redaction Agency and the European Commission, and aimed at

  • bringing together members of BACAC and international organizations and governments to discuss the implementation of international standards of biosafety and biosecurity for the Region
  • providing training within the  framework of WHO Biorisk Management Advanced Trainer Programme

To highlight the importance of biosafety in the context of overall laboratory quality, and to attract various stakeholders to the project, Dr Caroline Brown, Programme Manager Influenza & Other Respiratory Pathogens at WHO/Europe, presented a new initiative for   improving laboratory capacity and strengthening biosafety in three countries of the Region (Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova and Tajikistan): the “Better Labs for Better Health” proposal.

Dr Magdi Samaan, Biosafety and Laboratory Biosecurity programme (HSE/GCR/SID/BMT), WHO headquarters, presented the WHO Biorisk Management Strategic Framework for Action 2012-216 and the WHO Biorisk Management Advanced Trainer Programme. The training module has been provided in two formats: training-of-trainers (ToT) and training of users. In the WHO European Region, the ToT has been so far provided to laboratory staff from ten countries, while the training of users has been conducted at a national level only in Kazakhstan, in combination with the WHO Infectious Substances Shipping Training for  laboratory managers from regional public health laboratories. Further trainings in other countries are planned.

At the conference,  International Federation of Associations on biosafety awarded Dr Dinara A.Turegeldiyeva from the Kazakhstan Scientific Centre for Quarantine and Zoonotic Diseases,  (KSCQZD),  “The hero of biosafety 2012”  for her pioneering work in developing biosafety guidelines for Kazakhstan.