Around seven provincial medical lab technicians in the Solomon Islands received training and have successfully acquired license to clear dangerous goods and infectious substances for air freight (or airlift).
Certain medical items such as swab and blood samples including others when sent overseas for testings need to meet certain safety requirements and once met, issued with clearance to the airlines for airlift.
These are important safety mechanisms set in place by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) responsible for representing and serving airlines with global standards for safety and security amongst other important functions.
Similar training was also held for NRH medical lab technicians last year and with the recent training of provincial medical laboratories, country now has a handful of lab workers trained and with licence to do the clearance for dangerous goods and infectious substances for airlift.
Participants for the three days training included lab technicians from from hospitals in Malaita, Makira, Temotu, Choiseul, Helena Goldie and Atofi. Other provincial lab technicians also received similar training last year.
Mr. Robert Qalolilio, Taro Hospital Laboratory Technician described the training as very important because now he can identify dangerous goods, articles or substances that can present a risk to health and safety in flight.
“The training covers the legal requirements and mechanisms in place to minimize any risk posed to those involved in the handling of cargo and transportation process. This, in turn, helps to safeguard travelling passengers, airline crews and the public. Safer practices lead to fewer incidents and accidents”, said Mr. Qalolilio.
Mr. Alfred Dofai, Chief Medical Technologist, Medical Laboratory Department, National Referral Hospital (NRH) explained that with the successful completion of training, all its staff in country have completed the training with certificates and licence to clear Shipment of Dangerous Goods and Infectious Substances on the airline.
“Seven provincial staff have been certified last week Thursday11 May whilst NRH staff and few provincial lab staff had achieved theirs in September 2022”, said Mr. Dofai.
He said this is important to meet International Air Transport Association Regulation to ship these goods on the Airline of which Solomon Airlines is a member.
“Non-compliance with this regulation may attract a fine of US$500,000.00. This licence is valid for 2 years after which it can be renewed. I am now confident that my staff are ready to ship infectious specimens on the airlines, even during disease outbreaks or as part for our readiness for the SPG2023”, said Dofai.
Mr. Dofai then thanked World Health Organization for the funding the training and SPC for the technical expertise that delivered the training.
Source: Press Release, Ministry of Health and Medical Services