Lab Matters Winter 2022 | Page 17


It ’ s Time for Global Health Data Innovation

By Reshma Kakkar , informatics manager , Global Health ; Matthew McCarroll , lead specialist , Global Health ; Natalie Martinez , specialist , Global Health ; and Hewan Moges , associate specialist , Global Health
In the last three years , the world has come to rely on laboratory data more than ever before . As a result , the demand for timely and quality laboratory data has grown exponentially . With millions of tests being conducted in the US and globally — and emerging infectious diseases coming from zoonotic sources worldwide — the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) recognized the need to expand data modernization efforts beyond state and local entities in the US to countries in Asia , Africa and Central / South America .
APHL ’ s goal is to help bridge gaps driven by siloed systems and lack of standards that prevent sharing and utilization of data in public health , which can impact decision making . APHL is partnering with CDC on the Global Public Health Data Innovation program ( GPHDI ), which aims to support 10 countries with data modernization efforts . APHL is collaborating to provide support by using tried and trusted methods of technical assistance teams , the AIMS Platform , electronic laboratory reporting and the standardization of data exchange terminology . Through this effort , APHL will expand data modernization efforts and implement targeted approaches with each country .
This targeted approach will enable APHL and local health leaders to form customized roadmaps and long-term goals for improving laboratory data exchange and data flow , while also addressing workforce development . APHL will work with each country to develop and plan for a scalable laboratory system that allows data to flow securely and efficiently from the laboratory to target destinations , such as surveillance databases , so outbreaks can be detected and tracked more efficiently . This enhancement of the laboratory system will provide better health outcomes for citizens and provide health leaders with quicker and more accessible data . g

Tanzania Launches International Biological Safety Cabinet Certification Training Program

By Aika Mongi , director , APHL Tanzania and Lucy Maryogo-Robinson , director , Global Health
Infectious disease outbreaks highlight the need for safe handling of infectious materials and to institutionalize programs for servicing biological safety cabinets ( BSCs ) globally . Comprehensive workforce programs within local institutions are critical for biosafety but are severely lacking . Until May 2022 , if one wanted to learn how to certify BSCs on the African continent , one had to travel to North America or North American experts had to travel to Africa . To make this craft more accessible and sustainable , APHL , the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ), subject matter experts ( SMEs ), and Tanzania ’ s Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Science ( MUHAS ) collaborated to create a hybrid course delivering an asynchronous curriculum online and hands-on learning in Dar es Salaam . The course covers all one needs to know to successfully complete the NSF Basic Accreditation Field Certification tests .
To ensure the course could be offered annually , the program began by training instructors at MUHAS . It was not easy : pandemic travel restrictions forced us to get creative and train the instructors virtually . In May and June , our SME and the instructors piloted course materials with MUHAS undergraduates , then officially launched the course with field certifiers from Ethiopia ( 3 ), Kenya ( 2 ), Nigeria ( 1 ), Rwanda ( 2 ) and Uganda ( 2 ).
The participants completed hands-on training in June in Dar es Salaam at a training space provided by Tanzania ’ s National Public Health Laboratory . Some course participants stayed on to complete NSF Basic Accreditation testing , along with course instructors and other field certifiers in the region . Fourteen field certifiers from the public ( 13 ) and private ( 1 ) sectors completed accreditation testing . Eight field certifiers passed every test and are now listed as NSF-accredited certifiers . The rest are eligible to retest after 90 days , and some already have .
Instructors receive BSC training
Going forward , the course will be offered annually through MUHAS along with NSF Basic Accreditation testing . Our initial numbers may be small , but this is no small feat : we are making biosafety in African laboratories more achievable . g
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