Lab Matters Summer 2024 | Page 26


Building Partnerships & Strengthening Workforce Development within Asia-Pacific

By Kristy Kubota , MPH , manager , Global Health
Building networks and strengthening laboratory and case reporting systems are critical for the ability to respond to infectious diseases and prepare for novel emerging threats . An important component in building strong foundations to support public health systems is in workforce development . It is even more critical in the laboratory sector where changes in diagnostics and innovation happen rapidly , which ultimately shapes how diseases are detected and methods for surveillance are conducted in new and evolving ways .
In 2022 , in response to the COVID-19 pandemic , a new partnership was unveiled between the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ), through the CDC Thailand Country Office and the National Institute of Health , Ministry of Public Health to develop and lead training activities to strengthen the public health laboratory workforce in Thailand and throughout the Southeast Asia region . The Training Center for Excellence in Medical Sciences ( TEMs ) facility , located at the National Institute of Health campus in Thailand , developed capability to train personnel on the latest laboratory methods to support outbreak and response activities for a wide variety of pathogens . The facility has both
From left : Hasini Walpola , Centre for Pathogen Genomics , Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity ; Orapan Sripichai , PhD , Thai National Institute of Health ; Heather Carleton , PhD , MPH , CDC ; and Ratana Tacharoenmuang , PhD , Thai National Institute of Health
laboratory and bioinformatics training capabilities to allow scientists to learn entire workflow processes from sample submission to bioinformatics analysis and reporting .
Since its establishment in 2022 , the TEMs group has completed more than 10 trainings ranging from Biosafety Level Three ( BSL-3 ) to next-generation sequencing technologies and other molecular testing to support SARS CoV-2 , norovirus and other viral and bacterial pathogen detection . Additionally , APHL organized a genomic epidemiology bioinformatics training to more than 12 public health scientists within Thailand . In 2023 , the facility opened a new bioinformatics hub , which allows scientists to be trained in a variety of tools and platforms currently used to support CDC surveillance activities .
Collaboration with PulseNet Asia-Pacific
More than 35 people attended a two and a half day genomic epidemiology training held in conjunction with the PulseNet Asia Pacific Regional meeting in November 2023 . Participants represented ministries of health from more than 15 countries to learn genomic epidemiology principles and tools for the analysis of enteric bacteria as part of initiatives under the Global Antimicrobial Resistance ( AR ) Laboratory and Response Network . Participants learned bioinformatic analyses using Galaxy and Terra workflows for cluster and AR gene detection . More importantly , this training offered real-life examples of how to use sequence data generated for public health decision making .
Heather Carleton , PhD , MPH , chief of Enteric Diseases Laboratory Branch , CDC
In June 2024 , APHL , CDC and PulseNet Asia Pacific Coordinators at The Peter Doherty Institute for Immunity and
24 LAB MATTERS Summer 2024
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