Russian Federation and WHO kick off collaboration on reducing severe disease caused by influenza


On 22 March 2018, upon the request of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, WHO technical experts met with Russian counterparts in Moscow to discuss possible avenues for intensifying collaboration on the clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection and influenza. Dr Caroline Brown, Dr Dina Pfeifer and Dr Sergei Deshevoi explored the topic with representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-being (Rospotrebnadzor) and other Russian specialists.

The Russian Federation has a long history of working together with WHO on influenza and pandemic preparedness. The country participates in and contributes to the Flu News Europe surveillance network. Alongside this, the Ministry of Health suggested that cooperation expand to include clinical management.

As the main outcome of the meeting, the counterparts agreed to conduct a clinical management training course that WHO will design to address the specific needs of Russian clinicians. The Russian experts also presented and discussed current data on influenza surveillance in the country; plans for strengthening the surveillance system; the clinical management of high-threat infectious pathogens other than influenza; and outbreak preparedness.

WHO/Europe will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Health on preparations for the training, with the aim of rolling it out in October/November 2018.

Every year, up to 650 000 people die globally of causes associated with seasonal influenza. This number may increase during an influenza pandemic. While vaccination is the principal measure for preventing influenza and reducing the impact of seasonal influenza and pandemics, it is crucial that people who develop severe symptoms associated with influenza receive appropriate clinical treatment.

Information on the Russian Federation’s contribution to global influenza surveillance is available on the Flu News Europe website.