The Strengthening Laboratory Networks and National Biosafety & Biosecurity Systems Seminar was organized and co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP), in partnership with the Biological Risk Association Philippines (BRAP). The seminar was held at the Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel in Cebu, Philippines on April 8, 2016. This was the inaugural event for the Cooperative Biological Engagement Program and Biological Risk Association Philippines to collaborate in promoting improved biosecurity, disease detection, surveillance and reporting in line with International Health Regulation (IHR) requirements.
The seminar served as an opportunity for stakeholders from the human and animal health laboratory networks to discuss strengthening biosecurity guidelines in the Philippines, share best practices, recommendations and expand professional networks. The event consisted of presentations, a case study, panel discussion, scenario, and facilitated breakout groups. The facilitators used the breakout group session to identify best practices and make recommendations to address gaps for efficient, safe and secure sample referral systems. Participants were divided into two focus areas; 1) biosafety and biosecurity, and 2) sample collection quality.
The best practices and recommendations identified by the breakout groups will be leveraged by the BRAP Technical Working Group (TWG). The TWG is comprised of human and animal health stakeholders and will convene regularly to facilitate recommendations for improved communication and implement best practices regarding specimen management, ultimately improving disease surveillance and biological risk management within the Philippines.
Event participants felt that the goals and objectives of the Strengthening Lab Networks and National Biosafety and Biosecurity Systems Seminar were met. The response and outcome of the seminar was so positive that there are plans to hold a follow-on event in the Philippines in late June 2016.