An Affiliate of Pakistan Society For Microbiology (PSM)
Laboratory Biosafety Training Workshop  at Khairpur University

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.