Microscopists undergo WHO malaria training


TWELVE Papua New Guinean malaria microscopists have received the World Health Organisation (WHO) competence assessment to effectively support the National Malaria Programme.
Debra Ruffunduo, 29, from West Sepik hospital was the youngest and top-performing participant during the course which was held from June 10-14 in Port Moresby.
“I am excited to go back and train other microscopists in my hospital, as I have been so privileged to have attended the course and be assessed and certified,” she said.
Certified as a level one microscopist, the highest-rank, Ruffunduo can now provide training and supervision to other malaria microscopists.
The competence assessment was conducted by the Australian Defence Force Malaria and Infectious Disease Institute (ADFMIDI) with support from the Central Public Health Laboratory.
According to a recent WHO report, PNG accounted for more than 80 per cent of confirmed malaria cases in the western Pacific in 2017.
While rapid diagnostic tests on human blood are becoming more widely used and accepted in Papua New Guinea, microscopy is still heavily relied upon for diagnosis of the species and how heavy the infection is.
Lt Col Ken Lilley from the ADFMIDI, who has been facilitating training and assessments in PNG and around the world for more than 30 years as part of a global strategy to strengthen laboratory capacity led in facilitating it.
“Participants have learned how to detect and identify malaria parasite characteristics in blood samples under a microscope which is needed for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment,” Lilley said.
“The course covers all aspects of malaria microscopy based on standardised instruction for new laboratory technicians and a refresher for previously certified technicians.”

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