DEH lab manager named to regional public health committee

| 03/02/2016
Cayman News Service

DEH lab manager Antoinette Johnson

(CNS): The Cayman Islands laboratory manager for the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has been tapped to sit on the seven-member executive committee of the Caribbean Public Health Laboratory Network (CariPHLN). The goal of the network, which held its first meeting in September 2015 in Trinidad, is to strengthen the laboratory capacity of Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA ) member states – which includes Cayman – for preparedness and response to existing problems and new public health emergencies.

The committee on which Cayman’s DEH lab manager Antoinette Johnson sits has the role of ensuring that the objectives, functions and resolutions of the network are met.

Prior to the September meeting, CARPHA Laboratory, in its role as network coordinator, conducted a situational analysis of CARPHA member-state laboratories to identify strengths and areas for improvement to guide the working plan of the CariPHLN. The priority areas identified were laboratory performance, safety and biosafety, human resources, laboratory data management, laboratory financial resources and advocacy and networking.

Delegates from the Cayman Islands for this meeting were laboratory manager for the Health Services Authority, Judith Clarke, and Johnson. During the September meeting participants of the assembly from the 24 member states plus members of the laboratory special advisory group were divided into six working groups to examine these priorities.

The results of this exercise were the CariPHLN five-year strategic and two-year work plans. The assembly also nominated members of the CariPHLN executive committee and the CariPHLN observer for the CARPHA technical advisory group committee.

At the first meeting of the executive committee, held 5-6 November 2015, committee members discussed the priority areas defined in the first general session. Until a network manager is appointed, the members of the executive committees are recruiting members for the technical advisory groups, which will provide expertise in the six priority areas.

“It is good to have a seat at the table in this regional network of public health laboratories,” said Johnson. “Environmental labs like ours are an active and important part of the public health lab function providing the non-clinical testing in food and water safety, indoor air quality, assisting with emergency planning and response, environmental monitoring and responding to outbreaks of public health significance.”

DEH director Roydell Carter said that “by being a part of this network, our laboratory will have better access to resources, training and expertise, which can only benefit the Cayman Islands as a whole. We especially look forward to technical assistance to continue to improve the quality and capability of the environmental health laboratory functions”.

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Category: Medical and Health

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