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CARPHA Engages IATA to Boost Infectious Substance Shipping Capacities

From 30 May 2022, CARPHA and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) organised a 2 week long Infectious Substance Shippers Training course to strengthen laboratory capacities across the Region.  Thirteen participants from 12 CARPHA Member States (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands) and two (2) CARPHA staff have successfully received personal certifications as Trainers of Infectious Substances Shipping.

Dr. Joy St. John

“The very first cohort of CARPHA – IATA Infectious Substances Shipping Trainers were minted in 2016. Since that time replications have been conducted in 10 CARPHA Member States with more than 300 persons trained in Infectious Substances Handling and Shipping in accordance with best practices and standards,” stated Dr. Joy St. John, CARPHA Executive Director.

Dr. St. John added, “The Region faces new and old public health challenges, such as non-communicable diseases, natural disasters, climate change, and emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.  Having a wide pool of trained, certified shippers within the public health system is necessary for ensuring appropriate national as well as regional health security measures are always in place to safely, securely and rapidly respond to situations which may eventually become events of public health concern.”

The virtual workshop, conducted by IATA, aimed to expand the pool of regional trainers for the Transport of Infectious Substances who will be expected to facilitate country level and regional trainings as required by CARPHA.  Sample transportation is considered part of Laboratory Biosafety and Biosecurity.  As such, having certified shippers of dangerous infectious substances is a requirement of the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations.

CARPHA underscores the importance of maintaining this IATA certification every 2 years and continues to work assiduously with Member States on improving national capacities for biosafety and biosecurity which are key components for national and regional health security.

The Training was supported through the project “Strengthening Health Systems in CARICOM to Address Infectious Diseases”, which is funded by the Republic of Korea through the Republic of Korea-CARICOM (ROK-CARICOM) Cooperation Fund. The project supports regional and national level workshops in the Shipping of Infectious Substances, as well as the enhancement of other biosafety and biosecurity measures in CARPHA Member States.

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