The Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD), in partnership with CRDF Global and BM Martin Laboratory Consultants, LLC, recently wrapped up a laboratory management training for three senior executive-level managers from the Republic of Afghanistan Central Veterinary Diagnostic and Research Laboratory (CVDRL). Barbara Martin, M.S., founder of BM Consultants, LLC, and Kathryn Moser, independent laboratory quality consultant, led the trainees through the three phases of the program.
Veterinary diagnostic laboratories like CVDRL analyze samples and provide test results to veterinarians – making them vital to the detection, control and eradication of animal and zoonotic diseases. However, laboratories in developing countries like Afghanistan often have a high employee turnover rate and a lack of veterinary services infrastructure available to provide the formalized training and support necessary for continuously effective laboratory management. Through the online, in-person and follow-on phases this program, Martin and Moser delivered a customized training that not only provided the participants with lessons on laboratory management, but also provided them with a framework to train future laboratory management staff at CVDRL.
“For international audiences, movement of the training program to a blended learning environment with a subsequent follow-on project has changed the educational training model for from two weeks to several months,” said Heather Simmons, DVM, MSVPH, IIAD program manager and theme leader for education and outreach systems. “This allows stakeholder buy-in and follow-on for capacity building exercises in specific developing nations.”
Prior to the training, Martin performed a needs assessment to determine what gaps existed in personnel training and management practices at CVDRL and then customized the training on topics that addressed the identified gaps. The program, which blended online and face-to-face learning techniques, began in February 2016 with a four month-long online short course, continued with a one-week in-person training and wrapped up with a three-week follow-on activity to showcase the knowledge gained.
The online training courses consisted of five modules – laboratory organization, human resource management, communication, financial management and operational management – and provided real-world diagnostic laboratory scenarios in order to improve their understanding of laboratory management.
In July, Martin and Moser delivered the in-person portion of the training. This phase provided a closer look at laboratory management and more complex topics – such as information management systems, cost benefit analysis, and financial management – that necessitated face-to-face instruction.
After the in-person training, all trainees participated in a three-week follow-on project. With Martin providing feedback to guide them through the activity, program participants worked together as a group to solve hypothetical veterinary diagnostic lab scenarios. Through this project, participants were able to showcase their mastery of the knowledge and skills gained during the training program.
Upon completion of the program, trainees were provided with certificates of completion and returned to Afghanistan equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to train the next generation of CVDRL executive laboratory management track personnel.