Cameroon Conducts Training to Strengthen the Capacity of Health actors on Biosecurity, Biosafety, and Risk Management

Thursday, 3 August 2017 - 10:05am
OHCEA Network Country: 

The training was a five-day training was designed to provide an overview of biosecurity, biosafety and risk assessment as well as the practices, equipment, and facilities for the safe and secure handling of biological materials in veterinary and human health settings. It attracted 27 health actors (including researchers, Medical Doctors, Veterinarians, Laboratorians, Dentist, etc). The training concepts were reinforced through presentations, group discussions and visits to different facilities manipulating biological materials. The training was conducted 17th – 21st April 2017 in Douala, Cameroon

The training provided an overview of the critical aspects of biosecurity, biosafety and risk assessment. Participants learned how to assess risks for biohazards in the veterinary, human health and research settings and the strategies needed to appropriately manage these risks. By the end of the training, participants were expected to be familiar with standard best practices in bio-risk management.

The training provided knowledge to health actors in biosafety and bio-risk management according to the highest international standards in order to promote the knowledge and the dissemination of these standards in Cameroon in view of promoting the One Health concept.

Biological safety and biosecurity training is required for all personnel who work with potentially viable biological materials including microorganisms (of any risk level), cells or cell lines, tissue cultures, recombinant DNA, organisms, or viruses, animal blood, body fluids, or tissues, or animals. This training is recommended to be proper and routine.

The major challenges included lack of awareness at the higher level of issues pertaining to biosafety policy, standards and regulations; inadequate human resources and infrastructure; lack of sufficient technical expertise and resources for risk assessment, biosafety practices, construction, operation and maintenance of facilities, and limited emphasis in routine training of personnel on the concepts of biosafety and biosecurity.

Consequently we recommend:

  • Advocacy with the respective national authorities (stakeholders) to implement proper administrative controls in order to enhance biosafety and biosecurity best practices.
  • National associations of professionals with interest in biosafety should be forged and encouraged to be affiliated to other international professional bodies.
  • More specific biosafety training courses should be developed and conducted through leading public health laboratory or a university which may gradually lead to the development of a specialty of laboratory biosafety.