In Indonesia, HSP is working with the Indonesian Biorisk Association (IBA) and the National Standardization Agency (BSN) to conduct week-long, intensive virtual training programs for labs that are new to COVID-19 testing. The program is comprised of a series of webinars by experts from both Indonesia and the U.S. on key topics in biosafety, biosecurity and testing quality.
These training programs are vital because in Indonesia, more than 250 public and private sector labs are conducting COVID-19 testing to support the national pandemic response. Many of these labs are relatively new to working with high-consequence pathogens and therefore lack biorisk management capacity.
In order to help build these labs’ capacity, the following topics were covered:
- How to conduct risk assessments and put into place biosafety and biosecurity measures in the lab;
- Infrastructure, engineering controls, administrative controls, and use of PPE;
- Best practices for sample management, from the time it is received by the lab through RNA extraction, diagnostic testing, storage and proper disposal;
- Occupational health and safety;
- Internal quality assurance and quality control methods to ensure reliability of results.
From July 20th-23rd, 2020, a cohort of 30 laboratories were trained, and this week, from July 27th-30th, a second cohort of 31 laboratories are being trained. Both cohorts actively and enthusiastically participated in the training, particularly the Q&A sessions that followed each lecture. Participants are now networked with the experts and are able to reach out to HSP, IBA and BSN, to seek targeted mentorship in specific subject areas in the coming weeks.
This effort builds on the Ministry of Health’s prioritization of strengthening biorisk management capacity for Indonesia’s COVID-19-testing lab network, as well as the implementation of national guidelines for biorisk management for COVID-19 testing labs, developed by BSN and IBA.