Representatives from laboratories, and airline and courier companies participated in a two-day workshop on sample transport safety and security co-hosted by HSP and the Biorisk Association of the Philippines (BRAP). During the November 7-8 workshop in Cagayan de Oro City, BRAP and Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET) trainers addressed practical methods for safe and secure transport of biological samples through scenario-based modules, hands-on training and discussion. Modules included biorisk management and mitigation strategies, principles of transport and chain of custody, best practices for handling packages, international and regional guidelines, and how to handle common problems that arise during sample transport, among other related topics.
This was the first exposure to these topics for many of the courier and airline company participants; as one participant noted, “I didn’t know there was a scientific way of doing these things. Thank you to our sponsors for funding such events. I feel a BIG change coming out soon, when airlines and carriers will make known to the public that they can now accept specimens for transporting to other hospitals and centers.”
Participants shared their personal experiences and the challenges they’ve encountered with sample transport. This event also facilitated connections between the lab, courier and airline managers; discussions provided insights to everyone regarding the challenges faced at all points in the sample transport process. Participant feedback noted that it was valuable to make these cross sectoral connections, “The long discussions about the lab people, the couriers, the airline carriers and the public gave insight to everyone that we all had made mistakes in transporting our specimens. The workshop taught us how to do it well and correctly. I hope to echo this through my PAMET chapter. We will invite the local couriers to attend even if it would be free of charge for them.”
Participants from all groups expressed interest in expanding this training around the Philippines and creating additional cooperation between lab and courier staff to support open channels of communication and standardizing the transport process.