TEPHINET Helps Implement Regional Lab Preparedness Activities against Zika and Other Outbreak-prone Diseases

Train-the-Trainer Course for Caribbean and Central American Regional Laboratory Trainers (e-Learning Core Laboratory Competency Modules and Regional Training Plan Development)

April 9-11, 2018, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA

In collaboration with CDC and other regional partners (Caribbean Public Health Agency [CARPHA], Consejo de Ministros de Salud de Centroamérica [COMISCA], Pan-American Health Organization [PAHO]), TEPHINET implemented regional laboratory preparedness activities against Zika virus and other outbreak-prone diseases in the Caribbean and Central American regions. The project aimed to promote and ensure:

  • Long-term sustainability and country ownership of ongoing laboratory preparedness and response activities jointly implemented by multiple technical assistance teams and national partners;
  • Development of a regional laboratory preparedness and response strategy to strengthen integrated laboratory and epidemiology response against Zika virus and other outbreak prone diseases.

In 2017, two regional laboratory strategy forums were convened where laboratory leadership from the participating countries and the regional partners identified current strengths and weaknesses of laboratory systems in responding the threats of Zika and other outbreak-prone infectious diseases in the region. The recommendations of the forums include urgent enhancement of training on core laboratory competencies with a special focus on communication, laboratory safety and emergency management, and quality management system utilizing self-paced e-learning approaches.

TEPHINET and its partners engaged the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) to develop the recommended training modules in both English and Spanish. Training module development will be completed in April/May 2018, and a Train-the-Trainer (TOT) Workshop was convened on April 9-11, 2018 in Atlanta.

During this week's TOT workshop, participants from both regions had opportunities to preview the content of the training materials as well as discuss strategies to deploy e-learning training modules to benefit all laboratory scientists in the regions.