British Virgin Islands

Saturday, Nov 28, 2020

BVI to undertake 18-month programme to detect and control disease outbreaks

BVI to undertake 18-month programme to detect and control disease outbreaks

The BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) will be undertaking an 18-month programme that will help to improve the territory’s compliance with International Health Regulations. 
This was revealed in a government-commissioned media release which said the programme will be run by Public Health England (PHE) and will consist of technical support, mentorship, training and development.

“The focus is not only laboratory strengthening through accreditation to improve both clinical and public health diagnostic quality and capacity, but to improve the territory’s ability overall to detect and control outbreaks, control infectious diseases, and ensure the judicious management of antibiotics to reduce resistance,” Dr Georges said while explaining the benefits of the programme to the territory.

He also said an evaluation of the BVIHSA laboratory was conducted in early 2019. This evaluation was funded by The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and completed by the Caribbean Med Labs Foundation.

“The evaluation identified current systems, gaps and the development of a work plan to achieve Laboratory Quality Management Stepwise Improvement Program (LQMS-SIP) Tier 1 status with a view to achieving the ISO 15189 international standard in a stepwise manner,” Dr Georges added.

Meanwhile, PHE’s Clinical Microbiology Strengthening Project Lead on International Health Regulations Programme for the UK Overseas Territories, Dr Nandini Shetty, said a specialist will be made available to BVIHSA and Ministry of Health for resource purposes.

These purposes will include providing guidance and best practice strategies, answer questions, and to ensure all agreed objectives are achieved.

“We have been very impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm by the staff to progress towards accreditation. People are showing initiative and making change on every level,” Dr Shetty said.

The BVIHSA and PHE also recently co-hosted a two-day workshop which focused on laboratory quality management, bio-safety, infection prevention and control, surveillance, and anti-microbial drug stewardship.

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