Assessment of the biorisk management of a Public Health Reference Laboratory, Northern Region, Ghana-2018

  • Public health surveillance
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Background:
Biosafety and biosecurity remain critical in ensuring global health security. Laboratory bio-risk management is key in ensuring biosafety, biosecurity and biocontainment of biological and chemical hazards. In the 2017 Joint External Evaluation (JEE) for Ghana, the country scored two (2) in biosecurity and biosafety. Sequel to this, the Public Health Reference Laboratories (PHRL) were assessed and key bio-risk management interventions such as physical security, capacity building and equipment installation were implemented. We conducted an assessment of the PHRL one-year post implementation of the key bio-risk management interventions.
Methods:
We used the Biosafety and Biosecurity Laboratory Assessment Tool (BSS-LAT) for the pre and post intervention assessment. We assessed bio-risk management practices at the PHRL, interviewed both medical and non-medical laboratory staff, reviewed documents and made direct observation of design and work flow in the laboratory to compute assessment scores. We compared current and baseline assessment scores of the ten indicators (modules) to determine improvement in bio-risk management levels.
Results:
There has been significant improvement in the overall performance in the biosecurity and biosafety post implementation percentage values from 55% baseline to 67%. Specific indicator scores that improved marginally over baseline scores were premises and workflow (56% to 64%), emergencies (60% to 67%) as well as documentation and regulations (58% to 69%). Markedly improved scores were recorded for staff management and training (66% to 79%), good laboratory practices (57% to 77%), risk management (15% to 55%) and biosecurity (67% to 89%). Clean- ing, disinfection, sterilization and waste management as well as other risks downgraded from 67% to 66% and 52% to 41% respectively.
Conclusion
Bio-risk management practices in the PHRL improved significantly one year after implementation of post-JEE remedial bio-risk management practices. Based on our recommendation, training and sustained oversight supervision of laboratory staff are being implemented as means of strengthening indicators with downgraded scores.

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