The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) Biosafety and Biosecurity Initiative was launched by the Africa CDC in April 2019 with the aim of strengthening the African Union (AU) Member States’ biosafety and biosecurity systems and enabling them to comply with national and international requirements for biosafety and biosecurity including the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005), the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), and United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 and the multi-country Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). The World Health Organization (WHO) Joint External Evaluation (JEE) and the Global Health Security Index report confirmed the known capacity gaps in biosafety and biosecurity among Africa Union Member (AU).
The regional consultations by Africa CDC conducted between 2019-2021 highlighted the deficiency or limited availability of standardized and regionally recognized training programs in the continent, limiting biosafety and biosecurity capacity building efforts in the region. In response, Africa CDC working with AU Member States developed a home grown, implementable and accessible professional training and certification program that is both recognized and endorsed by AU Member States. The Regional Training and Certification Program for Biosafety and Biosecurity Professionals, for African Biosafety and Biosecurity Professionals (RTCP-BBP) has four (4) areas of specialization, namely
The RTCP-BBP is based on a proficiency matrix intended for use as a guide in assessing individuals’ competencies relative to the programs’ four (4) areas of specialization above. There are three levels of certification, Level 1,2 and 3 as described in the Regional Training and Certification Program for Biosafety and Biosecurity Program.
Africa Region Subject Matter Experts (Af-RSME)
In order to progress from Level 1 to Level 2 certification, candidates are required to develop and implement an improvement project, conduct practicals and undergo competency assessments in their home country. These in-country activities are undertaken under the guidance and supervision of an Africa Region Subject Matter Expert (Af-RSME)). Working with the assigned Af-RSME, the candidates submits a portfolio of improvement project, practicals and competency evaluation reports to the Examination and Certification Committee for review and award of Level 2 Af-BBP certification.
Under the RTCP-BBP, a Af-RSME is an Individual that has mastered the principles, concepts and/or methodologies related to the areas of specialization and has demonstrated significant success in performing the most demanding assignments requiring the competency. This knowledge and experience must be demonstrable and documented, with their expertise being recognized by their peers, regionally and/or internationally.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Af-RSME
The Af-SME will assist Level 1 certified candidates to: