Twelve newly trained and talented Biosafety & Biosecurity trainers will deliver the course in their respective institutes over the coming six months.
The first Project 53 “Biosafety & Biosecurity: Train the Trainer Course” has been completed in Almaty, Kazakhstan. This first of six, week-long training courses in Central Asia ran from October 2nd to 6th and was hosted at the Asfendiyarov Kazakh National Medical University (KazNMU).
Prof Christopher H Logue from Public Health England (P53 Biosafety Key Expert) lead the training, supported by fellow Novel and Dangerous Pathogens trainer Dr Suzanna Hawkey. Together with a Biosecurity expert from the RIVM in the Netherlands; Dr Ingmar Jense, the team of three supported by two local trainers delivered an interactive hands-on practical three day Biosafety and Biosecurity course, followed by two days of intensive Train the trainer training.
The training, facilitated by Professors Andrey Dimitrovski and Lyazzat Eraliyeva of KazNMU involved twelve participants with various experiences in biosafety and training. The trainees were selected from a range of Kazakh Institutions working with potentially biohazardous material including, KazNMU, the Kazakh National Agricultural University, the Kazakh Scientific Centre of Quarantine and Zoonotic Diseases, Institute of Microbiology and Virology & National Centre of Biotechnology (Almaty), Medical Universities from Astana, Shimkent, Semey State and Karaganda State, the National Reference Veterinarian Centre, Uralsk Anti-Plague Station, Astana National Centre of Expertise and Al-Faraby Kazakh National University (Almaty).
The hands-on training programme was to provide the participants with the capacity to deliver a three day biosafety and biosecurity training and included course material and trainer biosafety toolkits. Combined with the techniques gained via the subsequent two day TtT course, allows for further delivery of the biosafety & biosecurity training by the participants at their respective institutions, and beyond. As part of their final certification, each participant has a six month period to deliver the course to trainees at their institutions.
Prof Logue was “impressed by the high calibre of trainees and their enthusiasm throughout the course.” He continued by highlighting how “interaction is key in this type of laboratory focussed biosafety training, the trainees all shared their experiences and working practices. This made for very relevant discussions and allowed the course to be further tailored to each participant’s real-life biosafety situations. We want the participants to adapt this knowledge and training material to their own settings.”
The three day Biosafety and Biosecurity component of the five day course was accompanied by a biosafety toolkit, developed by the Novel and Dangerous Pathogens training group at PHE. The toolkit contains all of the consumables and a USB stick containing all of the training material (course presentations, lesson plans, workbooks, assessments, evaluation forms, videos, photos and other biosafety reference material) in an editable format.
This will allow each new trainer to be able to tailor and deliver this training course in their own settings and in low resource settings. A stand-alone biosecurity self-scan software developed by RIVM was also included that provides individual laboratories with the capacity to self-assess their institution’s biosecurity weaknesses. Dr Jense pointed out that “this is key in identifying improvements that can be implemented to reduce the risk of biological material being lost or its unauthorised removal.”
On completing the training, Saule Daugaliyeva said that “practical exercises helped us a lot in understanding materials” while fellow participant Antonina Kim of Karaganda State Medical University stated that “course materials were useful and applicable for us and was delivered in a clear manner. Professionalism of our instructors was at a high level”. Gulmira Utepbergenova a participant from Shimkent Medical University, stated that she “gained a lot of useful information on biosafety and biosecurity that will allow the course to become larger in the sense of quantity of future students in different regions of Kazakhstan, so we can participate in these as trainers”.