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Biosafety and Biosecurity Human Capacity Building in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Mongolia and Pakistan

#T-2248


Improving the biosafety and biosecurity potential, knowledge and practical skills on detection and diagnostics of infections in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Mongolia and Pakistan

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-SFS/Biosafety and BioSecurity/Biotechnology

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
02.02.2016

Leading Institute
Regional Biosafety Training Centre, Tajikistan, Dushanbe

Supporting institutes

  • Tajik Research Institute of Preventive Medicine, Tajikistan, Dushanbe

Collaborators

  • University of California / Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, USA, CA, Berkeley

Project summary

BACAC countries (Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) are part of endemic region on many dangerous infectious diseases and during the recent years they encountered outbreaks of hepatitis viruses, HIV/AIDS, arboviruses (CCHFV, West Nile Fever, etc.), avian influenza, rotaviruses, anthrax, plague, tularaemia, cholera, water-borne diseases, etc. In Central Asia and Caucasus, after collapse of Soviet Union, the biosafety/biosecurity systems have either became outdated or have ceased to function.
Laboratory diagnostic and surveillance capacity are central to the fight against infectious diseases. However, many laboratories in the region lack capacity to safely and securely handle dangerous biological pathogens and have lack of elementary biosafety/biosecurity education, while biosafety and biosecurity play very important role in counter-terrorism and non-proliferation efforts. The situation is aggravated by financial limitations, obsolete laboratory equipment, absence of global politics, rules and training as well as insufficient biosafety/biosecurity culture.
New biosafety and biosecurity initiatives (including the EU initiative "Strengthening biosafety and biosecurity capabilities in South Caucasus and in Central Asian countries") are critical not only for the BACAC countries' public health and veterinary service but also for limiting the risks of epidemics and pandemics caused either by unknowing or not-following the biosafety and biosecurity rules and requirements or by intentional purposes.
There are some laboratories in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Mongolia and Pakistan that are well equipped with modern equipment but the staff doesn't have enough expertise to operate efficiently and follow even basic biosafety/biosecurity rules and requirements while bio threats level in the region is increasing.
Today many countries and institutes are increasing their biosafety and biosecurity potential to meet international norms and standards. Knowledge transfer is an essential enabler to achieve this goal. This is true for all organizations, dealing with biosafety and biosecurity:
    · hospitals and medical and veterinary laboratories handling infectious diagnostic samples;· universities involved in basic research;· institutions focused on applied research;· facilities developing vaccines;· public and veterinary health authorities;
    BACAC countries face similar problems regarding the training of medical and research staff on biosafety and biosecurity issues. Specialists, especially, in rural areas do not have access to data on new methods, approaches, legislation and other modern biosafety and biosecurity information.
Building human capacity through education is an important component to better ensuring policies on biosafety and biosecurity are effectively written, implemented and followed. Currently, there is a need to educate students, university teachers, scientists, policy-makers and communicators on issues of biosafety and biosecurity and a need for more educated dialogue on how best to enforce the regulations and guidelines in critical areas such as laboratory structure and maintenance.
Taking all this into account this dictates the necessity to build biosafety and biosecurity capacity in BACAC countries in the field, mainly, of good laboratory practices, quality management, rules, international treaties, monitoring, laboratory management, safety and security principles as well as in laboratory containment.
In this new project we have the following objectives:
    1. Increase the level of biosafety and biosecurity in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Mongolia and Pakistan;
    2. Increase the quality level of surveillance, detection and diagnostics of infectious diseases in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Mongolia and Pakistan by improving capacities (knowledge and practical skills) for the identification of infectious pathogens;
    3. Awareness raising - capacity building and awareness raising for governmental stakeholders/researchers and laboratory specialists in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Mongolia and Pakistan;
    4. Strengthening cooperation of Central Asia, Afghanistan, Mongolia and Pakistan regional specialists with international partners (WHO, EU) in the field of biosafety and biosecurity.
In total, we plan to develop two new biosafety training curricula in addition to one we had developed in the framework of the first EU DEVCO funded ISTC Project T-1998 “Creation of Regional Biosafety Training Centre in Dushanbe for Capacity Building for Tajikistan and Afghanistan Professionals”. One curricula will be developed for high-level biosafety officials of Tajikistan and the second curricula will be developed for biosafety trainers Central Asia, Afghanistan, Mongolia and Pakistan.
In the new project we plan to train:

    · 40 specialists from Afghanistan; · 20 specialists from Pakistan; · 20 specialists from Mongolia;· 20 specialists from Kyrgyzstan;· 20 specialists from Kazakhstan;· 20 specialists from Turkmenistan;· 20 specialists from Uzbekistan;· and 250 specialists from Tajikistan

on modern approaches and global and regional requirements and rules in the field of biosafety and biosecurity. The trainings will considerably improve biosafety and biosecurity level in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Mongolia and Pakistan. The figures above include also training of 10 biosafety trainers for Afghanistan provinces and Kabul (where our Afghanistan colleagues plan to create the biosafety training centre), 5 biosafety trainers from Pakistan, 5 biosafety trainers from Mongolia, 5 biosafety trainers from Kyrgyzstan, 5 biosafety trainers from Kazakhstan, 5 biosafety trainers from Turkmenistan, 5 biosafety trainers from Uzbekistan and 10 biosafety trainers for Tajikistan provinces.


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