WHO builds capacity of qualified personnel for laboratory biosafety in Turkmenistan

WHO/Aina Chariyeva

Participants receive hands-on training on the maintenance of TB laboratory biosafety cabinets.

WHO conducted a training to build capacity in the maintenance of tuberculosis (TB) laboratory biosafety cabinets (BSCs) in Turkmenistan. Five technicians and engineers from Turkmenistan and 1 from the Russian Federation took part in the 8-day training on 5–14 February 2019 in Ashgabat.

Qualified personnel key to ensuring high safety levels and quality assurance

TB and particularly multidrug-resistant TB are still problematic in many countries of the WHO European Region. Laboratory diagnosis is key to the detection and treatment of TB. Properly equipped and maintained laboratories should be available for this purpose.

Laboratory BSCs are intended to protect laboratory operators, products and the environment from harmful airborne agents. Their proper functioning and maintenance are critical factors for attaining high safety levels and providing laboratory quality assurance.

One of the major challenges that prevents the countries concerned from meeting this goal is a lack of qualified and trained technical personnel who can provide professional installation, field testing and maintenance of BSCs.

Hands-on practice and theoretical training for participants

The training was led by international experts in the field of BSC testing and certification. They focused on both theoretical and practical aspects of the maintenance of BSCs, covering:

  • biorisk assessment;
  • field TB laboratory BSC testing and maintenance based on international standards and manufacturers’ recommendations; and
  • BSC testing.

All participants successfully passed both the final theoretical and practical examinations. It is expected that participants will take responsibility for BSC field testing and maintenance for TB laboratories (and possibly other laboratories) in their respective countries.

WHO’s continued support

WHO will continue to support Turkmenistan by providing:

  • mentoring support to trained engineers in the practical application of their skills in June 2019; and
  • advisory support when the country purchases necessary equipment for BSC maintenance in TB and other laboratories.