The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) supports the development of the capacity of veterinary professionals to transport infectious substances in accordance with the Dangerous Goods Regulations of International Air Transport Association (IATA). The five-day training organized by FAO’s Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases for West and Central Africa (ECTAD WCA) held in Abuja, Nigeria trained veterinary laboratory staff from Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
Shipping infectious substances requires specific and regulated training. Capacity building on the transport of infectious substances according to international regulations is therefore essential for the transport of these types of infectious substances. This training acquainted participants with the technical skills on regulations of safe and appropriate packaging practices and shipping diagnostic specimens by air. The participants successfully passed the examination will be able to officially sign on the Dangerous Goods Declaration (DGD).
FAO supports countries to comply to IATA transport regulations
Given the importance of the regulation of dangerous goods, it is necessary that all laboratory staff in the region involved in the dispatch and/or reception of dangerous goods need to be aware of these regulations through receiving appropriate training to enable them to carry out this work safely and expeditiously. For many years, FAO has been providing the required face-to-face or virtual infectious substances shipment training (ISST) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The problem we face in most African countries is the low number of professionals with these skills to ensure efficient shipping of infectious substances,” said Guy Kouame, the FAO ECTAD Country Team Leader in Nigeria.
FAO ECTAD regional laboratory specialist for West and Central Africa, Mamadou Niang, on behalf of the Regional Manager for FAO ECTADWCA saluted the participation of the public health staff of Nigeria to this training and encouraged this One Heath spirit. He indicated that “Laboratory technicians are the main actors in handling infectious substances on a daily basis. Therefore, they are the ones who better understand the risks related to transporting biological samples and as such, they must receive this training continuously”.
Infectious substances could cause significant implications if accidentally released during transport. The training provides professional personnel with skills required for classifying infectious substances, selecting, marking, labelling packages, preparing documentations to be able to dispatch diagnostic specimens in conformity with these regulations so as to minimize biosafety risks.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.