KU Microbiologists Conduct Laboratory Biosafety Training Workshop at Khairpur University
A Report by :
Prof.Dr. Aqueel Ahmed - Department of Microbiology
KU microbiologists in collaboration with Biosafety Association of Pakistan conducted 6th National Laboratory Biosafety Training Workshop during the Microbiology Conference held at Khairpur University which was presided over by Prof.Dr. Yasmin Kazi - Chair - Department of Microbiology.
Delivering the keynote lecture , Prof.Dr. Shahana Urooj Kazmi - Dean - Faculty of Science - University of Karachi and Chair - BSAP said that in order to reduce exposure of laboratory workers and outside environment to potentially hazardous /infectious agents , we have to practice strict adherence to standard Microbiological Lab. Practices , safe equipments and facility design for worker protection , barrier to outside persons , animals and environment. She said that pathological Laboratories handle samples of unknown infectious agents- which have to be processed in Biosafety level 2 -3 but due to poor infrastructure and inappropriate functioning of our pathological and research laboratories , lack of, legislative arrangements , lack of monitoring & supervision , biosafety breaches are common resulting in laboratory acquired infections in the in the lab. Technicians and health care workers as well as serve as a hazard to the community at large . It is therefore necessary to develop and implement proper guidelines/legislation for Labs. using Biological agents /toxins capable of causing serious or fatal illness to humans or animals or affecting our food crops and environment .
Proper handling, processing and containment of all microbes as well as samples of human or animal origin infected with select agents by the laboratory personnel is essential to limiting the spread of infection and for the safety of community , environment and the health of our food crops , animals and their products. For effective biosafety practices , we need qualified microbiologist , public health specialists , biomedical scientists etc for bacteriology virology, mycology , Immunology labs.etc. Biosafety and Biosecurity capacity building is essential to protect human health , agricultural production systems, and consumer confidence in agri- food products and to meet the requirements of international trade agreements regarding food safety . Biosafety Association of Pakistan has therefore initiated National Awareness Seminars and Training Workshops series - including todays workshop ,since its establishment in March 2007 . The seminars have been addressed by biosafety experts from USDA , ABSA , BEP , Sandia Laboratories , PARC /NARC - MINFAL - Avian Influenza Surveillance Team and University of Karachi scientists who provided hands on training to the participants from different universities , R&D institutions and industry. She said that the impact of awareness seminars and trainings is quite encouraging from the response we received from 14 BSAP chapter members regarding their skills and knowledge regarding biosafety practices before , during performance of routine work and after finishing their routine work. We still need to continue our efforts to make sure that all procedures with live agents and toxins are performed inside the biosafety cabinets , no work is done with open vessels on open benches to minimize aerosol generation ,use of appropriate disinfectants in cabinet and on other work surfaces ,careful pipetting techniques , maintaining hand hygiene ,no mouth pipetting ,no eating. She said that more hands on training workshops , learning experience of the participants will improve their know how about biosafety which will go a long way in reducing the incidence of serious infections like MDR / XDR TB, Hepatitis , Bird Flu , Swine Flu etc, reducing heavy economic losses due to human disease , animal and crop infestations reducing possible threat of bioterrorism by misuse of select agents as well as help us prepare better to meet the challenges of WTO and international trade requirements.
Prof.Dr. Aqeel Ahmed - Director -KU - BRC delivered a lecture on Biosafe Disposal of Medical Waste .He said that Pakistan produces >250,000 tons of clinical waste per year containing 10-15% infectious waste. A large proportion is dumped into municipal waste which contaminate the entire municipal waste. He said that we have to take all measures to ensure that such waste is disposed without any adverse effect to human and animals. Current Waste Management practices are characterized by poor quality collection service and improper disposal at open dumpsites. He recommended that all Hospital waste should be disposed after proper decontamination by autoclaving , ,Chemical disinfection with sodium hypochlorite ,Incineration. Every bit of infectious hazards waste should be properly treated and disposed off at proper sites to avoid contamination of environment and spread of diseases in humans and animals.
Dr. Khursheed Hashmi - Sindh Medical College emphasized the importance of application of biosafety principles at home and at workplaces in handling food , water , preparing baby milk, protecting water supplies to avoid contamination with potential human pathogens. He also said that curriculum for Biosafety and Biosecurity at developed by HEC , be introduced at University / College t high schools and , medical colleges to create awareness , to provide training and to safeguard the health of our future generations.Mr. Adnan Khan and Mr.Saeed of BSAP - KU -PhD scholars gave stepwise details of donning and doffing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Use with a practical demonstration. A large number of participants benefited from this training. Mr. Sikander Sherwani and Yasir explained the importance of hand washing and gave a practical demonstration of all steps involved in proper hand washing . Large number of participants took part in this exercise.
Dr.Farhan Essa of Dow University of Health Sciences and BSAP talked about detailed SOPS and demonstrated the role of Biosafety officers and laboratory personnel in the management of emergencies and Spills of microbial cultures and chemicals . He said that it is very important to know the risk groups of infectious agents in order to determine the risk of acquiring serious infections and their management . Dr. Farhan also explained the biosafe techniques for collection, Packaging, Transportation and disposal of infectious material.
Appreciating the efforts of Biosafety experts in organizing the Laboratory biosafety training workshop, Prof.Dr. Yasmin Kazi - Chairperson -Department of Microbiology at Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai Universty , thanked all the participants from different Universities and R&D institutions of Pakistan for taking keen interest in all the presentations and hands on training sessions.More than 75 delegates of Microbiology Conference attended the training sessions.