SPC’s Surveillance, Preparedness and Response team supports Pacific Island countries and territories in strengthening clinical laboratories’ diagnostic capacity and capability for priority outbreak-prone diseases, both locally and through the referral of samples to reference laboratories via LabNet.
Our target diseases are the priority diseases of the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN), i.e. dengue fever, measles, rubella, influenza, leptospirosis, typhoid fever, cholera and new emerging diseases.
Our activities include:
- Capacity and capability building package which include:
- Laboratory Quality Management System (LQMS) training focused on 12 quality system essentials, in collaboration with regional partners (i.e. World Health Organization, Pacific Island Health Officers Association, Pacific Paramedical Training Centre and Fjii National University),
- Training for shipping infectious substances,
- Microbiology training to support laboratory-based surveillance,
- Laboratory attachment to strengthen country-specific limitations,
- Support for shipment of biological samples,
- Ad-hoc technical assistance and advice on laboratory testing methods, technical and shipping procedures for the confirmation of outbreaks of priority diseases targeted by PPHSN and new emerging diseases, including while providing support during mass gatherings, disaster response and strengthening laboratory-based surveillance at country level.
- Coordination of LabNet Technical Working Body (TWB) meetings, which is composed of eight members from regional laboratory partners (PIHOA, NRL, PPTC, SPC, FNU, WHO, CDC and IPNC)
- Contributions to LabNet TWB work through the development and strengthening of human (and animal) health laboratory services in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs).
- Sharing of information, guidance and experience on lab-related matters through PacNet-lab, the discussion list dedicated to public health laboratory workers in the Pacific.
New COVID-19 activities
- Support PICTs for SARS-CoV-2 testing through the use of existing GeneXpert System and provision of GeneXpert cartridges
- Strengthen ILI and SARI Surveillance in PICTs through the provision of 14 BD Veritor Machines
- Provide technical assistance in collaboration with Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL), Doherty and Pacific Paramedical Training Centre (PPTC) to countries setting RT-PCR testing capability
- Provide technical guidance to the Joint Incident Management Team (JIMT) on lab related matters pertaining to COVID-19 testing.
- Provide and taking the lead in providing testing protocol, testing algorithm and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 testing in PICTs
- GeneXpert Trainings in collaboration with Cepheid Company
- Provision of Supplementary Guide on Quality Assurance and quality control in L1 Laboratories performing GeneXpert SARS-CoV-2
- Provision of Protocol for testing pooled specimens for SARS-CoV-2 on GeneXpert