9 June 2017

Liberia: FAO Empowers Lab Technicians

Enhancing the capacity of key government ministries to deliver active surveillance of viruses in the animal-human interface is a crucial step in addressing emerging pandemic threats.

Liberia is among several countries implementing the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) component of the project: "Emerging Pandemic Threat" (EPT-2) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The project will mitigate the negative impacts of zoonotic diseases and will be accomplished by efforts to understand animal hosts for drivers that influence their emergencies in order to improve early detection and timely application of appropriate policies and practices for risk reduction.

A release said the FAO component of the USAID funded EPT-2 Program in Liberia is supporting Surveillance for diseases such as rabies among others.

In May 2017, lab technicians from the Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL) of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the Public Health Laboratory (PHL) of the Ministry of Health (MoH) participated in a weeklong training session on bio-safety and bio-security organized by the FAO.

The objectives of the training was to enhance the capacity of the technicians on the basic concept of bio-security in a laboratory environment; develop a roadmap to apply bio-safety for each lab as well as train participants on the use of FAO Lab Mapping Tool (FAOLMT).

The FAO Lab Mapping Tool was developed by FAO to generate reliable and accurate data to support the development of strong animal disease prevention and control system by indicating the overall functionality of a laboratory and generate a picture of laboratory functionality within and across regions, thus underpinning regional and global approaches to laboratory strengthening.

According to the facilitator, Angélique Angot - Lab Expert from FAO-HQ, the training will contribute to the implementation and enhancement of bio-security measures in the CVL and the PHL to conduct infectious diseases testing within satisfactory security conditions for the operator and the environment.

The release said participants were also trained to develop regional program on bio-security reinforcement after the evaluation of the regional situation based on the results of the FAOLMT.

During the training, participants acquired a broad knowledge on the needs and identified gaps of bio-security and also made recommendations for the CVL. They discussed in detail the strategies and procedures of bio-security question in laboratory as well as means of adopting these principles to protect the personnel and the environment.

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