Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
The BVI Health Services Authority joined forces with Public Health England and hosted a two-day workshop to strengthen quality management systems related to International Health Regulations compliance.
The Laboratory Quality, Infection Prevention and Control, and Clinical Microbiology Strengthening workshop focused on laboratory quality management, Bio-Safety, Infection Prevention and Control, Surveillance, and anti-microbial drug stewardship.
Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ronald Georges said an evaluation of the Laboratory was completed by Caribbean Med Labs Foundation and funded by PAHO earlier this year.
“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. Ronald Georges explained.
The CEO said the focus of the mission of Public Health England is to set up a programme of technical support, mentorship, training and development over the next 18 months to improve the Territory’s compliance with International Health Regulations.
Dr. Georges explained, “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.”
The CEO concluded that as the BVI Health Services Authority strives to continue its vision of being the leader and preferred provider of healthcare in the Virgin Islands, activities will continue to build capacity and capabilities of delivering excellent, compassionate, client centered healthcare across the Territory.
Public Health England’s Clinical Microbiology Strengthening Project Lead on International Health Regulations Programme for the UK Overseas Territories, Dr. Nan Shetty said that agreed work plans have been developed to address the identified gaps and over the course of the next 18 months, focal points in the BVI Health Services Authority and Ministry of Health will have access to specialists for resource purposes to answer questions, provide guidance and best practice strategies and to ensure that the agreed objectives are met.
“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. She further stated that the purpose of this initiative is to protect the population from infectious diseases and provide a mechanism to set up the capability to rapidly detect infection and communicate it through the IHR platform which will aid in emergency response and preparedness.
The International Health Regulations (2005) are a legally binding instrument of international law that aims to assist countries to work together to save lives and livelihoods endangered by the international spread of diseases and other health risks .