RITM completes 2nd batch of biosafety training for 2022

As part of its annual series of biosafety trainings, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) through its Biorisk Management Office (BRMO) has recently concluded its second batch of biosafety trainings for this year last February 18, 2022.

The February roll-out has capacitated 831 participants, 95% of which are laboratory analysts, non-analysts, and pathologists. The participants undergo biosafety trainings to equip them with the skills necessary to handle infectious organisms and biohazards.

“Through the years, the Philippines has been challenged by the advent of an emerging infectious disease. One of the constant challenges is the number of adequately trained personnel. To bridge this gap, it is imperative to have a standard training program for the laboratory personnel tasked to handle an emerging infectious disease agent,” says BRMO Head Plebeian B. Medina on the importance of the training.

In compliance with the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) guidelines, BRMO has transitioned to distance learning since August 2020 and has continued to offer the biosafety trainings through online platforms.

Following a blended format and an asynchronous training approach, the topics covered in the training include the fundamentals of biosafety, biorisk management, donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE), biorisk mitigation control, transport of infectious substances, and accident and incident response in laboratories. The move to transition to an asynchronous training approach has also contributed to the 78% increase in training participants this year.

As of writing, BRMO has capacitated a total of 3784 laboratory analysts, pathologists, and non-analysts through the online biosafety trainings with an 83% training completion rate. BRMO is currently exploring to refine their processes for the conduct of the training.

Four more trainings are expected in March, June, September, and November of this year. Starting the June roll-out, participants will already be merited with CPD units for the biosafety training.

Following the Department of Health (DOH) Administrative Order (AO) 2020-0014, prior to securing a license-to-operate (LTO), all staff involved in a COVID-19 testing laboratory should undergo biosafety training.

Moreover, DOH AO 2021-0037 mandates all diagnostic clinical laboratories applying for an LTO to designate a biosafety and biosecurity officer with relevant training provided by BRMO and/or the University of the Philippines National Training Center for Biosafety and Biosecurity (UP NTCBB).

All interested parties may coordinate with the RITM Committee for Learning and Development (CLD) for the detailed registration guidelines for the trainings.

by Anel Azel Dimaano, Communication and Engagement Office