The Center for Disease Control (CDC) China Thursday 5th September 2019 completed a three-day intensive training on the detection of the Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) for twelve laboratory technicians at the Jui P3 Laboratory on the outskirts of Freetown. The beneficiary laboratory technicians, according to Zou Xiaohui, Lab Manager at P3 Lab, were drawn from Kambia, Freetown, Makeni and Kenema, among others. He went on to note that this was the third batch of trainees on the laboratory technics in detecting the deadly Marburg strain. “This third set comprises twelve participants. The second training which was done three weeks ago had eight participants and the first set also comprised eight participants,” Zou disclosed.
He added. the technicians were spread across the country so as to enable every district to handle suspected cases of the Marburg disease without having to send samples to the P3 Lab for results. In 2018, the University of Makeni UNIMAK, in collaboration with USA reported the discovery of the Marburg virus in fruits bats collected from Kono, Moyamba and Koinadugu Districts. No fatalities were recorded. However, Dr. Duan Zhaojun, Executive Director, Second Phase of the Fixed Biological Safety Laboratory Technical Cooperation Project, said the disease, like Ebola, was fatal in humans and could spread quickly if not detected and contained early. Speaking to the participants during the certification ceremony, Dr. Duan noted that the training had ended but the work had begun for the beneficiaries. He added that they had the responsibility to champion the detection of the Marburg disease in their respective districts. Speaking at the certification ceremony on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS), the National Program Manager, Public Health Laboratory Network, Doris Harding noted that the training was timely in the country’s move to strengthen disease surveillance and prevention. “This has a long way to go with our country’s health system, moreover in the area of addressing viral disease like Marburg, Ebola and others which we can’t afford to see again in our country” she added. Harding admonished the trained lab technicians to think about the protection of their country (Sierra Leone) while they would be executing their duties in various laboratories across the country. “You’re serving your country and not self, and remember to be professional and focused on what you do because the health security of fellow Sierra Leoneans lie in your hands,” Harding reiterated. Foday Thoronka, a, one of the beneficiary Lab Scientist expressed fulfillment over the training. “This has put me in the capacity to respond to any suspected case of the Marburg disease when any of such a sample shows up in my lab,” he said. He however called on CDC China to continue with such training for different viral diseases and for more local health practitioners, so as to continue to robustly support the country’s health sector. Other beneficiaries who spoke about their feeling towards the training were delighted to have been capacitated in their field of work and expressed enthusiasm to go to their respective areas of responsibility and serve diligently.
By Abdulai Gbla
Login or Subscribe to read the entire article