Scaling up preparedness for high-threat pathogen outbreaks in Kyrgyzstan

WHO

Over 50 epidemiologists, veterinarians and laboratory technicians from across Kyrgyzstan participated in a 5-day specialized training to deepen their knowledge on existing diagnostic methods and procedures to prevent outbreaks caused by high-threat pathogens – such as anthrax, cholera, rabies and brucellosis – and minimize their impact on human health in Kyrgyzstan.

The training took place in the central territorial laboratories in the north and south regions of the country from 28 January 2019.

Utilizing the One Health approach to improve health outcomes

The specialized training aimed to maintain and strengthen national capacities to address food safety hazards, risks from zoonosis and other public health threats at the human–animal–ecosystem interface. Doing so requires a holistic and multisectoral approach referred to as One Health.

The training included a theoretical module and a hands-on practical component that focused on proper sample collection techniques from the field, including handling, laboratory analysis and reporting. Health specialists together with veterinarians also had an opportunity to improve epidemiological data and laboratory information-sharing in the country.

It gave participants an opportunity to share their experience and their commitment to working closely together to reduce the risks associated with disease outbreaks.

“A successful public health intervention requires strong and close collaboration between all relevant sectors,” highlighted Dr Tasnim Atatrah, Head ad interim of the WHO Country Office in Kyrgyzstan. “The training provided a platform to strengthen linkages between animal and health sectors with the aim of preventing zoonotic outbreaks and minimizing their impact on human health.”

Developing a roadmap to reinforce outbreak prevention and response

In October 2018, WHO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) conducted a national bridging workshop to provide technical support to the country. It focused on increasing the capacities of the Ministry of Health and the State Inspectorate for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Security to develop a roadmap to strengthen linkages between the 2 sectors with aim of preventing zoonotic outbreaks and minimizing their impact on human and animal health.

Through implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005), WHO provides support to Member States to strengthen core capacities to address events that may affect human health. Through this workshop, participants increased their awareness and understanding of the IHR and its core role in their work.

The mandate of the OIE is to support countries’ compliance with international standards for animal health and welfare by strengthening country capacity to detect, assess and respond to pathogens that may pose an acute public health threat.

The training was supported by technical assistance and financial support from WHO in accordance with the biennial collaborative agreement for 2018–2019 between the Ministry of Health of Kyrgyzstan and WHO.