Articles

AfBSA strategic direction

The African Biological safety Association (AfBSA) is a non-governmental, non-political, non-sectarian and non-profit making through which its members work, co-operate and collaborate with one or each other, or with other associations, scientific or health organizations, institutions or individuals throughout Africa or elsewhere in the world. AfBSA since its formation has endeavored;


1. To promote Biosafety and Biosecurity as scientific disciplines in Africa
2. To provide a professional body that represents the interests and needs of practitioners of biological safety, and to provide a forum for the continued and timely exchange of biological safety information.
3. To expand biosafety awareness and promote the development of work practices, equipment and facilities to reduce the potential for occupational illness and adverse environmental impact from infectious agents or biologically-derived materials
4. To enhance the knowledge and understanding of biological safety issues throughout Africa.
5. To support emerging legislation and standards in the areas of biosafety, biosecurity, biotechnology, transport and associated activities and will act as a focal point for the consolidation of views on these issues in Africa.
6. To establish links with other biosafety associations internationally.


Toward this ends the association has organised several local and international trainings;

 

1. Trainer of Trainers Course In Africa "Working Safely and Security Within Bsl2 Laboratories" March 9-13, 2009 Silversprings Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya
2. Laboratory Biosafety and Biosecurity Workshop, March 16-18, 2009, KEMRI Training Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
3. Report on 1st Afbsa Biosafety Cabinets (BSC) Training Course, Nairobi, Kenya, March 29-30, 2010
4. Laboratory Biosafety and Biosecurity Workshop at Azalai Hotel, Bamako, Mali from October 18 - 22, 2010
5. 1st Annual AfBSA Biological Safety Conference, Nairobi, Kenya, March, 2010
6. 2nd Annual AfBSA Biological Safety Conference, Accra, Ghana, March, 2011
7. 3rd Annual AfBSA Biological Safety Conference, Johannesburg, South Africa, June, 2012
8. 1st Conference on Occupational Biological Exposures: A colloquium for Occupational Medicine infectious Disease and Emergency Medicines Professionals, August 10 to 12, 2011 at Cathay Hotel Nakuru
9. Currently AfBSA is collaborating with Department of Safety and Occupational Health under the ministry of labour in drafting the national occupational biological exposure plan for Kenya.

 

However funding, particularly support for conference and workshops, doesn't meet demand for training on biosafety and biosecurity issues, AfBSA has however met the increased demand for training opportunities on biosafety and biosecurity in Africa by lobbying various partners for funding to assist in the training of the continents scientists and through the various grants AfBSA has received the association has supported the Trainer of Trainers (TOT) workshop held in Nairobi, Kenya on March 9-13, 2009. The workshop was a huge success in that we were not only able to train 25 participants but we were also able to establish our first AfBSA Council and formed very essential committees of AfBSA. The grant also supported distribution of 300 copies Laboratory Safety Handbook.

 

Part of the grant also supported 1 AfBSA staff to train in Leadership at Emory University USA, 2 members trained during the 8th Biocontainment in Winnipeg Canada and 2 attended the Maintenance Course at Winnipeg, Canada in 2010.

Immediately after the TOT workshop we hosted a local training for Kenyan participants drawn from local universities, research Institutions and colleges.

 

AfBSA also held the 1st AfBSA Training Course on Biosafety Cabinets March 29-30, 2010. The trained engineers are now in a position to perform installation, inspection and certification of BSC. In collaboration with Sandia Laboratories, USA, AfBSA supported planning of Control of Biorisk Course from African participants in Albuquerque, New Mexico USA, April 2010.

AfBSA also held a successful Biosafety and Biosecurity workshop for West African counties on October 18-22, 2010 at Azalai Grand Hotel Bamako, Mali. This workshop was sponsored by the U.S. Biosecurity Engagement Programme (BEP) and the Grant administered by the U.S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation (CRDF) and the AfBSA Office. The course targeted Institutional Biosafety Officers or Individuals working towards becoming Institutional Biosafety Officers from research institutions and Universities from the West African region. The objective was to strengthen their national and institutional skills in the assessment and management of risks of biotechnology and to accomplish specific goals towards achieving laboratory biosafety and biosecurity, and sustainability of public and veterinary health networks. Participants were selected from 14 West African countries which included Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. Participants from Benin and Cape Verde did not attend.

During the West African workshop, participants from the participating Institutions and countries were asked to give an overview on Biosafety and Biosecurity in their Institutions. These deliberations were used to make this report and to develop a strategic plan for the West African region. This Strategic plan is to provide the Association with a three-year roadmap (2011-2013) for promoting and sustaining Biosafety and Biosecurity programmes in the West African region. The AfBSA Secretariat and the Council reviews the progress quarterly and will review and update the plan annually as needed.

AfBSA has also organised the 1st Conference on Occupational Biological Exposures: A colloquium for Occupational Medicine infectious Disease and Emergency Medicines Professionals, August 10 to 12, 2011 at Cathay Hotel Nakuru and is currently collaborating with Department of Safety and Occupational Health under the ministry of labour in drafting the national occupational biological exposure plan for Kenya. The conference took place as a result of Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation's partnership with AfBSA to partner with Kenya government, as well as various appropriate institutions, and agencies, in the continuing development of biosafety/biosecurity processes impacting occupational health of Kenya employees who work with biological agents in their workplaces, i.e., hospitals (infectious disease exposures), public health laboratories, hospital laboratories, research laboratories, veterinarian laboratories, etc. Biological safety and security in the workplace in turn helps ensure the health, safety, and security of surrounding communities as well as the world. The 1st conference was therefore a unique event to be held in Africa and the 3rd to be held worldwide. The first two were hosted by Elizabeth Griffin Research Foundation and held in Boston (2010) and in San Diego (2011) both in the USA.

On the global front, AfBSA increased its network by supporting International efforts in Biosafety and Biosecurity. Among these include CEN workshop, WHO Strategic Plan meeting and the Biological Toxins and Weapons Convention (BTWC) meeting held for African countries on February 2nd to 4th, 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya. AfBSA also supports regional trainings hosted by the African Integrated Laboratory Training (ACILT) held in Johannesburg South Africa twice every year.

Since the inception of AfBSA various countries have setup active Associations. These include the Egyptian Biosafety Association (EGBA), Association Moroccaine de Biosecurite (AMBS) and Nigerian Biosafety Association (NIBSA), the South African Biorisk Association(SABA), the Cameroonian Biosafety Association (CAMBSA), Uganda Biosafety and Biosecurity Association (UBBA) and most recently the Biorisk Management Association of Kenya (BMAK) . AfBSA is now providing guidelines to other colleagues in Africa to establish Biosafety Associations in their respective countries.

In conclusion AfBSA's strategic direction and goals are in response to its understanding of what its member's value most about the Association, including current opportunities and challenges for offering a high quality system of support for promoting Biosafety and Biosecurity in Africa. In the next three-years will be a time of assessing and deepening AfBSA's approaches to its objectives. Concurrently, AfBSA will take more of a leadership role in working with a broader array of professional networks, Associations and agencies, and it will actively explore engaging more members to serve as volunteers.

 

With a fresh perspective on its mission, understanding what it does well, and the environment in which it operates, AfBSA will pursue the following strategic direction:

1. AfBSA will take a lead in an effort to survey the membership regarding their status in implementing Biosafety and Biosecurity and what they think they need to advance AfBSA will develop and provide supporting training materials and activities to ensure AfBSA members are aware and informed of new issues and areas of research, to support the principle of continuous professional development for its members.
2. AfBSA will continue to strengthen Institutional Skills and Networking on Biosafety and Biosecurity in African Institutions.
3. AfBSA will review and deepen its existing direct support to develop and maintain professional standards in the field of Biosafety and Biosecurity throughout Africa and in the world.
4. AfBSA will assess needs and the levels of Biosafety and Biosecurity training programs, public education and the existing capacities within the participating countries in African Institutions in order to advance Biosafety and Biosecurity as a scientific discipline through education and research.
5. AfBSA will provide members sustained opportunities for Biosafety and Biosecurity communication, education and participation in the development of standards, guidelines and regulations for these disciplines.
6. AfBSA will expand Biosafety and Biosecurity awareness by promoting the development of work practices, certification of equipment and facilities to reduce the potential for occupational illness and adverse environmental impact from infectious agents or biologically-derived materials.
7. AfBSA will continue to advance Biosafety and Biosecurity as professional disciplines through curriculum development in educational institutions.
8. AfBSA will support implementation of National and International Biosafety and Biosecurity standards, guidelines and regulations including the International Laboratory of Biorisk Standards with an accreditation process.

Primary Contacts

To send feedback, suggestions or register as a member please contact:

African Biological Safety Association

Fairlane House off Mbagathi Road

P.O Box 35749-00200, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: +254-714283195, +254-020-5256052 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.