U.N., International Atomic Energy Agency support zoonotic disease response in Africa with PPE training

U.N., International Atomic Energy Agency support zoonotic disease response in Africa with PPE training. | Courtesy of the IAEA

In partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO UN) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are providing zoonotic disease support to African states.

The IAEA is providing information and education of detection, identification and characterization techniques for pathogens that are derived from nuclear science.

Techniques that are derived from nuclear means include polymerase chain reactions (PCR), enzyme-linked immunosorbant assays (ELISA) and reverse transcription PCR. The IAEA states that these methods have been successful in detecting zoonotic pathogens in a matter of hours.

The IAEA states that the threat of zoonotic diseases -- those that are transmitted by animals -- is present across the African continent. Prior to utilizing nuclear techniques of detection and identification, they noted the importance of proper sample management for dangerous pathogens.

The agency also held a special training session in Cameroon that detailed the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Participants represented 10 countries including: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Sierra Leone, Benin, Togo, Uganda and hosting country Cameroon.

“Training courses such as this one help to bridge the knowledge gap and ensure personnel safety,” Victor Matt-Lebby, senior health specialist and director of Hospital and Laboratory Services in Sierra Leone, said. “We have experienced how important it is to protect our personnel when handling contaminated samples.”

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