Today in Kampala, the Prime Minister of Uganda, Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda, announced the winners of NTI’s Next Generation for Biosecurity in GHSA Competition The competition, supported by NTI in collaboration with the Next Generation GHS Network, helps develop linkages and creative approaches across regions and sectors to achieve the biosecurity-related targets of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and the World Health Organization Joint External Evaluation (JEE).
First prize was awarded to Lyazzat Musralina (Institute of General Genetics and Cytology, Kazakhstan), Elshad Rzayev (Republican Veterinary Laboratory of the State Veterinary Control Service, Azerbaijan), and Ashley Tseng (McGill University, Canada). This team proposed the creation of a centrally located database of biosecurity resources and tools to assist countries or organizations to achieve the biosecurity targets within the GHSA and the JEE. “Our proposal seeks to address the overarching problem that although there is an abundance of resources available, there is no straightforward roadmap to follow or central location for individuals to access them…. A centralized hub [can] share current resources that will form a framework to increase utility and knowledge sharing,” the team said.
The second prize team includes Sabrina Brizee (National institute for Public Health and the Environment, Netherlands), Zachariah E. Makondo (Tanzania Veterinary Laboratory Agency), and Nicholas M. Mwikwabe (Kenya Medical Research Institute). They proposed a tool to assist countries with implementing the JEE requirement to maintain a national inventory for dangerous pathogens. Third prize was awarded to Pascal D. Chuisseu (Universite des Montagnes, Cameroon), Jeanne Y. Ngogang (Universite des Montagnes, Cameroon), and Ernest Tambo (Africa Disease Intelligence and Surveillance, Cameroon), for proposing work to promote measurable biosecurity and One Health approaches to further GHSA implementation.
The first and second place winners received travel assistance and will present their proposals in Kampala during the 4th Annual GHSA High Level Ministerial Meeting where health security leaders, government officials, and global experts are gathered to discuss GHSA implementation and priorities for GHSA extension. All three winning teams will receive a six-month mentorship with biosecurity professionals to help them further develop their proposals and access a larger network of experts and professionals in the field. In addition, the three teams will present their proposals during an upcoming Next Generation GHS Network Webinar.
NTI supports the GHSA and places a priority on its biosecurity-related elements, as well as accountability, financing, and tracking commitments to accelerate national capability to prevent, detect, and respond to high consequence biological events. In advance of the Kampala GHSA Ministerial, NTI analyzed national biosecurity and biosafety capabilities and found significant gaps. NTI calls on all countries to prioritize financing for global biosecurity gaps and to support additional efforts within the GHSA and the Next Generation GHS Network to fill them.
Read more about NTI’s biosecurity program here.