(PAHO) The training which took place 12-14 February 2020, was attended by four laboratory technologists from the New China Friendship Hospital in Roseau, Dominica. The three-day training was facilitated by Virologist, Dr Lionel Gresh.
The main objectives of the training were to:
• Implement the molecular diagnosis of the COVID-19 and train laboratory staff
• Deliver key reagents for the detection of the COVID-19
• Review the required biosafety measures for handling COVID-19 samples and sample shipping procedures to international reference laboratories
The training was implemented on the job and the methodology was in line with PAHO/WHO recommendations, which is to support countries to develop their capacity to identify and respond in a timely manner to any suspected COVID-19 case on Island. Testing will be performed in a state-of-the-art molecular biology platform installed in 2019 through a joint collaboration between PAHO and the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment also received donations of reagents (primers, probes and positive controls for screening and confirmatory test). With these donations approximately 96 tests can be conducted. Additional reagents will be available for Dominica if testing load was to increase.
Dr Lionel Gresh also met with Dr Shalauddin Ahmed, National Epidemiologist, and Ms Catherina Jemmott, Laboratory Superintendant, to review the guidelines on COVID-19 sample collection, transportation and testing, and to plan the dissemination of these guidelines to health workers.
The country has vowed to notify PAHO/WHO in a timely manner should any case occur on island, in accordance with the International Health Regulations (IHR). They will also continue to source PAHO’s technical expertise to guide them in further testing, for other respiratory pathogens as influenza.