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GLOBAL VIEWPOINT


Biomedical laboratory science: introducing an international perspective


The International Federation of Biomedical Laboratory Science has a global responsibility to support, advance and promote good scientific laboratory practice and education, underpinned by ethical and professional values. Here, new IFBLS President Alan Wainwright provides an overview.


The International Federation of Biomedical Laboratory Science (IFBLS) is an independent non-governmental association of national societies in 35 countries. It represents more than 200,000 biomedical laboratory scientists and technologists worldwide and has a global responsibility to support, advance and promote good scientific laboratory practice and education, underpinned by ethical and professional values. I was elected IFBLS President in September 2020, together with the new President-Elect, Marie Culliton, and five other Board Directors. It was at a virtual meeting of Chief Delegates and Member Association representatives, replacing the scheduled meetings at the World Congress that was due to be held in Copenhagen.


Despite the COVID-19 restrictions,


it provided an opportunity, together with the General Assembly of Delegates held the week before, to come together and reflect on the activities of the Board during the previous year, and receive reports from Chief Delegates on the priorities for their member associations. Normally, work with the new Board would start the next day: induction, assigning directors to committees, reviewing the meetings and identify strategic priorities for the coming year. My presidency was going to be similar but by necessity, different, and so began with a virtual


20


Alan Wainwright was elected IFBLS President in September 2020.


meeting of the Board of Directors (BoD) one week later.


The priority was for IFBLS to maintain its focus on tasks outlined in the By-Laws and required by our members. The strategic plan outlines our main goals and tasks: some goals are long-term, with tasks that are ongoing and open-ended, while others have measurable outcomes. Our members need to see we are making progress on a global scale and can offer advice and guidance in order to empower


them to act on topics they are concerned about at a national level. An important aspect of this is the status of IFBLS as a Non-State Actor (NSA) and its official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO). We have a Designated Technical Officer and to maintain our status we have a workplan that includes provision of the following: an article in HR Journal about medical laboratory staffing; input for revision of WHO guidelines related to laboratory medicine; support for WHO call for experts; input to WHO documents; and side events at the World Health Assembly. Attendance at WHO meetings is key. In 2019 and 2020, members of the IFBLS management committee attended the WHO Executive Board meeting and submitted statements on human resources, non-communicable disease, and accelerating the elimination of cervical cancer as a global public health problem. These were accepted and presented at the meeting. We have also contributed to the revision of the List of Essential In Vitro Diagnostics (EDL).


Pandemic response The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and COVID- 19 disease have obviously had a huge impact on the work of biomedical laboratory scientists across the world and, as public awareness of laboratory diagnostics has grown, many of our member associations have gained increased recognition of the value their work brings in testing and diagnosing this disease. I am immensely proud of our profession, the commitment shown at all levels not just to maintain services, but to work together for the future, to recognise where innovation is essential, but not lose sight of fundamental knowledge and skills. Surviving the current pandemic relies on the capacity of a trained and


DECEMBER 2020 WWW.PATHOLOGYINPRACTICE.COM


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