Laboratory Technologists to participate in Internship in Argentina to Strengthen AMR Lab Capacity

Lab Technologists Katrina Harte and Starlene Jones with Dep. Chief of Mission, Emb. of Argentina, Demian Dobry and Subregional Prog. Coordinator - Caribbean, PAHO/WHO Office, Jessie Schutt-Aine
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(Pan American Health Organisation Press Release) Two Laboratory Technologists from the Best-Dos Santos Public Health Laboratory in Barbados will travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to take part in an internship from November 4-29, at the Antimicrobial Service, INEI (Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Infecciosas) ANLIS (Administración Nacional de Laboratorios e Institutos de Salud) Dr. Carlos G. Malbrán.

This training is an important feature of the Caribbean Cooperation in Health Development (CCHD) triangular project between the Government of Argentina, the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) and the Caribbean Community, to improve the capacity for diagnosis of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in clinical laboratories of Member States.

Since July, this year, Laboratory Technologists have been trained in identifying AMR, ensuring systems to safeguard the quality of testing, analyzing data and producing reports, and using that knowledge to inform prescribing practices and treatment protocols. Starlene Jones and Katrina Harte, visited the Embassy ahead of their trip and noted they were both “very excited to travel to Argentina to learn new techniques to help in treating regional patients”. Ms Jones noted, that the training will, “allow them to carry out more in-depth analysis of organisms, to ascertain which drugs should be prescribed to reduce AMR and help the infectious control department in surveillance. And, when we return, we will be sharing the information with our colleagues and additional regional counterparts.”

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AMR occurs when microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals). Microorganisms that develop AMR are sometimes referred to as “superbugs”. The National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Ministry of Health of Argentina, has been collaborating for over 20 years with PAHO and WHO to strengthen the diagnostic capacity for, and surveillance of, AMR in human pathogens, as well as the quality assurance of clinical laboratories in the region.

According to Jessie Schutt-Aine, Subregional Program Coordinator, PAHO/WHO Office for Subregional Program Coordination, Caribbean, “we are pleased to facilitate this south-south exchange between the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory and the Instituto Malbran which will strengthen the capacity for AMR surveillance in the Caribbean”.

Ambassador of the Argentine Republic to Barbados and the OECS, Gustavo Martinez Pandiani, stated that this South/South collaborative initiative is in line with Argentina´s commitment to fostering stronger ties with the Caribbean. “We expect that the scientific expertise of Instituto Malbrán (Argentine National Institute of Infectious Diseases) and SENASA (Food Safety and Quality Agency) on Antimicrobial Resistance will be a great contribution to improving pharmaceutical prescribing and changing consumer practices in the region”, Ambassador Pandiani emphasised.


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