ASEAN member states will work to strengthen cooperation to build capacity in bio-safety and bio-security for laboratory and hospital technicians.
They made the statement at the ASEAN-Canada Global Partnership Program (GPP) Forum, which was held in Vientiane Capital on March 15. The forum was supported by Global Partnership Canada.
The three-day meeting aims to enhance and improve laboratory technicians’ and policymakers’ understanding of bio-safety and bio-security issues and maximize the use of national resources employed to comply with internationally-mandated requirements.
It also aims to improve bio-safety and bio-security for laboratories and hospitals to protect both health workers and patients from occupational hazards associated with the handling of hazardous laboratory supply chemicals and to promote the sharing of experience among ASEAN member states for Lao implementation.
A total of 55 participants including representatives of ASEAN member states, the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Forestry, Defense and related partners participated in this forum.
“In recent years, there have been a number of new and emerging deadly infectious disease outbreaks worldwide, such as Ebola in West Africa, MERS-CoV in Korea and the Zika virus. In Lao PDR, the recent report of Zika virus transmissions and cases of the circulating vaccine-derived polio virus remind us that serious biological threats persist in this region as well,” said Head of the Office of the Canada Embassy to Laos, Ms Lee Anne Hermann.
The government of Canada, in collaboration with ASEAN partners, supports significant efforts in the ASEAN region to help address biological threats posed by emerging infectious disease outbreaks, whether naturally caused or resulting from a deliberate attack.
Areas of priority include the strengthening of laboratory capacity for emerging and dangerous pathogens, enhancing bio-safety and bio-security, disease surveillance and regional interconnectivity capabilities and establishing an ASEAN Emergency Operations Centre network.
The forum on strengthening bio-safety and bio-security is part of Canada’s commitment to the Global Health Security Agenda bio-safety and bio-security Prevent-3Action Package and efforts to mitigate biological threats in the ASEAN region.
A robust national bio-safety and bio-security system will ensure that especially dangerous pathogens are identified, secured, and monitored according best practices and will play an important role in countering biological threats.
“In this regard, I trust that this forum will provide a valuable opportunity to share best practices and experiences to enhance national and regional bio-safety and bio-security capabilities to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to biological threats posed from high-consequence pathogens within Southeast Asia,” said Ms Hermann.
Source: Lao News Agency