Championing Medical Laboratory Biosafety Standards at Facility Level in Kenya
“Nothing lifts your heart more than giving your support and time to a good cause.”
These were the words of Edison Kiprono Chepkonga, a medical laboratory technologist working at Kapsabet District hospital, situated in Nandi County (Rift Valley region), Kenya. Edison is one of the 26 laboratory personnel that benefited from a biosafety training supported by the PEPFAR/CDC-funded Strengthening Public Health Laboratory Systems (SPHLS), led by MSH. The hospital has a bed capacity of 137. Thirty-seven satellite health facilities refer laboratory samples to the hospital.
To reduce the bio hazardous exposure to lab workers, SPHLS has been supporting training and follow up at facilities in selected counties across the country. Three personnel from Kapsabet District participated in a training and follow-up assessment, including Edison.
Edison quickly applied the knowledge from the training to improve the conditions at the hospital facility and was immediately selected as the Biosafety Officer to provide oversight on all the safety issues within the laboratory. In addition, he has been championing continuous medical education (CMEs) and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) committee meetings at the facility.
Edison’s enthusiasm and passion for safety issues at the hospital was recognized by management and he was appointed as the Secretary of the IPC committee.
During his regular supervision together with the rest of the IPC committee, other members noted and commended the drastic improvements made in the laboratory since the training: safety signage, availability of a first aid kit, proper waste segregation, designated handwashing sinks, personal protective equipment, and proper documentation and availability of eye wash stations.
He has since been given an award by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in recognition of his contribution during the Annual Standard Based Management Response award. He is now the “Kapsabet District Hospital champion for infection prevention and control". Edison said:
During the training, we were asked to develop work plans that would guide on the course of action to take once we were back in the facility. The three of us who were trained on biosafety provided feedback to the entire hospital management.
My motivation came from the support provided by the management and administration. When I asked for materials and supplies to be able to implement the activities in my work plan, the management supported us and that’s why you see these changes today.
My colleagues are also very supportive and we work as a team, all in agreement that safety is everyone’s responsibility.