IPR Receives AAALAC (Association of Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care) International accreditation.
The Institute of Primate Research (IPR) is the first organization in Africa to obtain AAALAC International (www.aaalac.org ) accreditation after several years of planning, re-structuring and re-organization of IPR’s program description to comply with the set standards. IPR received its accreditation on 26th November 2017 and now joins two other facilities in Africa, a US Naval facility in Mauritius and North-West University, South Africa.
Worldwide there are currently 950 animal care and use programs spread in 41 countries that have earned AAALAC International accreditation. These institutions have followed three main standards that include the ETS 123, The Guide 2011 and Ag Guide. Each organization can pick one as its standard for assessment.
The roadmap to IPR’s accreditation. We initially purchased five copies of the Guide 2011and these allowed us critically assess AAALAC requirements for accreditation. Once we had appreciated what IPR required, we undertook early preparations that involved presenting four Complimentary Webnars to IPR personnel from www.aaalac.org, each being 1 hour in duration. The series of webnars were entitled “The AAALAC Perspective on implementing the 8th edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: Expectations for Accreditation”. These webnars were instrumental in improving IPR’s understanding of the whole process and ensured that IPR staff were able to appreciate the intricate details of attaining this accreditation.
Through this process, it was clear that IPR had been implementing rudimentary procedures on managing the care, welfare of laboratory animals. Since the early 1980s, IPR used the 5th edition of the Guide (courtesy of Jim Else who was then the Director and a Primate Veterinarian). This guide consisted of only 56 pages compared to the current 8th Guide 2011 which was 350 pages.
IPR’s accreditation began with a launching ceremony, followed by programs that aimed at training staff, sensitization on AAALAC requirements, identifying gaps and finally implementation to improve facilities so they can reach the required standards.
Major support and advice for this process came from IPR’s IAB members, who include Jim Else, Thomas DHooghe, Jan Hau, Bruno Gooderis and John Cooper. They undertook several site visits and gave valuable information on the finer details of what aaalac inspectors required. An AAALAC steering committee was constituted to address these issues and provide guidance on how best to achieve the desired facility improvements. Major upgrades in the animal facilities were undertaken that included repairing defects, purchasing of equipment, training of staff on occupational health issues, re-addressing issues around animal ethics.
Other internal facility inspections were conducted twice in a year by IRC/IACUC to assist ASD in implementing the program. These internal facility inspections, allowed AAALAC steering committee to identify the gaps and deficiencies as per the guide 2011. From this assessment tasks were allocated to responsible staff (POM, OSHA, ASD staff) that assisted in managing and correcting various defects, preparation of new SOPs and staff training.
IPR’s program description. The last critical stage was for IPR to write the “Program description (PD)”. This was meant to describe in details IPR animal use and care program. Following a Guided format for filling a form, the PD ended up consisting of a 110 page document and 15 Appendices. It had four sections, (i) Animal Care and Use Program (ii) Animal environment and housing management (iii) Veterinary Care and (v) Animal Facilities. This document was then forwarded to AAALAC international for review, and once accepted, they then indicated that they would undertake a site visit. The PD was proof read and prepared by Dr Daniel Chai, Dr Lucy Ochola, Dr David Langoi and was checked by Prof Jan Hau and Prof Bruno Godeeris.
AAALAC site visit to IPR. The site visit took place on Nov 7th 2016 and started at 7.30am to 6pm in the evening. The activity commenced with an introduction briefing followed by a review of the program description document which the reviewers appreciated was done well.
Other activities during the Site Visit of the facility included:
i. A lunch break to meet the IACUC members or OHS members.
ii. Visit of the facility (areas not covered were done)
iii. Document review. (requested other supporting documents that were not included in the PD and these were reviewed)
iv. Executive session
v. Exit briefing- details of reviewers finding were shared with AAALAC steering committee
Post visit communication and IPR activities. Upon completion of the site visit in November, 2016, AAALAC international forwarded a document on 24th February, 2017 stating that IPR had been given a provisional status. This was on condition that we were able to address mandatory concerns raised (i) Occupational health and safety program (OHSP) (ii) Rodent facility operations (iii) IACUC functions were partially met, (iv) rodent euthanasia and suggestions for improvement. IPR was to address all these requirements (mandatory at least) by 24th August 2017.
The steering committee, were able to look critically at all the concerns raised and by delegating various activities to individuals in committees, we worked at ensuring that a OHS program was set up and trainings undertaken for all ASD and security staff, SOPs were developed and reviewed in both the ASD and rodent facilities, IACUC reviewed their IACUC policy document and are now ensure that they meet frequently to address institute wide animal welfare concerns. Having achieved this, a comprehensive document was prepared that addressed all the concerns, evidence in the form of new/revised protocols, photos were included and this was submitted on the 24th August, 2017.
IPR achieves AAALAC accreditation. Finally, after all the hard work and commitment by IPR staff, we received a letter on 26th November, 2017 to say that our application was approved and that IPR was now an AAALAC accredited facility!!
admin February 12, 2018