Inception Workshop on “Reducing Biosecurity Threats from Infectious Diseases with Pandemic Potential in Southeast Asia”
Thursday 11 September - Friday 12 September, 2014 Savannakhet Provincial Health Department, Lao PDR
The Asia Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (APEIR), in partnership with the Mekong Basin Disease Surveillance Foundation (MBDS), hosted an inception workshop at the Savannakhet Provincial Health Department, Savannakhet, Lao PDR on 11-12 September, 2014. The project was attended by 32 researchers, and public health professionals from Lao PDR, Vietnam, and Thailand.
The workshop would kick off a collaborative research project, at the pilot study site, between Lao PDR, Vietnam and Thailand that seeks to analyze and understand infectious disease pathogen transmission dynamics along active country border regions. These diseases include influenza, melioidosis, and salmonella. It is believed that cross-border transportation activity in the Southeast Asian region would increase significantly as a result of the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. The collaborative research program seeks to understand the transmission dynamics of the aforementioned infectious disease pathogens in preparation for this regional development, and to encourage international research collaboration to increase Southeast Asia’s overall research capacity. In addition, the workshop also aimed to clarify research methodologies, plan for overall research processes, and discuss budgets for partners.
Members from each of the participating countries discussed the study workflow in detail including the possible evaluation of each experiment, responsible persons for each country, laboratory training requirements, and budget estimation. Participants clarified each country’s government and ethical clearance procedures. They also discussed and finalized the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all three subprojects. The workflows represent the up-to-date SOPs are shown in the Annex. Local public health officers offered to support the project in many aspects e.g. helping research teams to contact with other local authorities and so on.
To ensure the same research protocol will be followed and to build capacity, all participants agreed to conduct a training workshop at Mahidol University, Amnatchareon Campus, Thailand, in early 2015. The objective of this training workshop will be to learn and practice laboratory techniques. The participants will most likely be researchers and others involved in laboratory work and sample collection from Hanoi, Vietnam and Vientiane, Lao PDR. Following the training workshop, partners from Hanoi and Vientiane will conduct a training workshop at their corresponding border sites. The project will be implemented as soon as possible. Each research team is responsible for monitoring and data sharing.
All partners agreed with the project action plan.
The remainder of the meeting was spent discussing study workflows, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and research procedures for all three subprojects. In addition, the MBDS will support the project through the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The meeting participants later visited laboratories at Savannaket Hospital, Lao PDR, with Dr. Vatsana (Head of the Laboratory section) explaining the laboratory services.
Savannakhet Laboratory Visit
Thai researchers later visited Mahidol University, Amnat Charoen campus to check their facilities. The team was satisfied in the progress of laboratory improvement and confident to hold a training workshop in January 2015. The plan to implement the
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