Lab Matters Fall 2016 - Page 21

public health preparedness and response APHL Delivers Biological Safety Cabinet Training in East Africa by Michael J. Perry, MS, MS Ed, laboratory supervisor, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health; and Alan Antenucci, Research Scientist II, Health Research Inc. A PHL convened biological safety cabinet (BSC) operations training for public health professionals in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda over the summer of 2016. Presented in partnership with the Ministries of Health and national laboratories in each country, the training reinforced the role of laboratory biosafety, and the proper operation and maintenance of BSCs. Sixty-six attendees of varying experience and education received extensive didactic and hands-on experience in the features, types and classes of BSCs, as well as proper setup, work flow, spill response, decontamination and maintenance procedures. Participants learned: • BSC principles and how the BSC can protect the laboratory environment, samples and workers from risks associated with infectious biological materials Alan Antenucci instructing participants on the startup protocol for a BSC at the Central Public Health Laboratory in Kampala, Uganda. Photo by Michael Perry • How to work safely within a BSC and how to plan future activities in their work setting Instructors found significant gaps in biosafety practices, which participants attributed to a lack of training on proper procedures. Visits to local hospital laboratories to observe the workflow and utilization of BSCs in a clinical setting confirmed this problem. One laboratory was utilizing a clean bench for tuberculosis processing. A clean bench should be used only with non-hazardous material, since it directs airflow back toward the laboratorian processing the sample. Training participants reported similar work practices. Though many laboratorians had BSCs in their laboratories, they had not been trained to work with them and preferred to conduct all their work on benchtops. Given this limited understanding of BSC function, instructors opted to emphasize BSC operations and the BSC’s role as a primary engineering control. The BSC trainings were well received by health ministries, which requested that the course be offered annually as a requirement for newly hired laboratory personnel. The trainings are a joint effort between APHL’s Public Health and Preparedness and Response (PHPR) and Global Health programs and are funded by CDC as an acceleration initiative under the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). APHL members Alan Antenucci and Michael Perry, MS, MS Ed, worked with PHPR Director Chris Mangal, MPH, to tailor each course to the needs of the host country. The team also collaborated with Philip Lee, MSc FIBMS, lead biological defense coordinator, Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Public Health Laboratories–Jacksonville Branch and Lucy Atieno, PhD, APHL laboratory and quality management system consultant, to deliver the trainings in-country. Participants review a video on donning and removing protective gear. Photo by Michael Perry What is a Biological Safety Cabinet? A biological safety cabinet (biosafety cabinet or BSC) is an enclosed, ventilated laboratory workspace designed to provide three basic types of protection: • Personnel protection from harmful agents inside the cabinet • Product protection to avoid contamination of the work, experiment or process • Environmental protection from contaminants contained within the cabinet Participants of the BSC Operations Training Course at CDC Ethiopia. Photo by Philip A. Lee PublicHealthLabs @APHL APHL.org Fall 2016 LAB MATTERS 19