High threat pathogens preparedness and response workshop for south-eastern European countries

23–24 November 2017, Sofia, Bulgaria

Well-functioning, sustainable laboratory services, operating according to international principles of quality and safety, are an essential part of strong health systems and are crucial to improving public health. Reliable and timely laboratory services are also essential to a nation’s health security, because they play a major role in all the key processes of detection, assessment, response, notification and monitoring of events.

Recognizing this, WHO/Europe’s Better Labs for Better Health initiative is organizing a workshop for south-eastern European countries that aims to identify gaps and needs in national laboratory capacities in the preparation for and response to high-threat pathogens (such as Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, West Nile fever, Rift Valley fever, dengue, Zika and yellow fever) that might arise in these countries.

The workshop also aims to identify actions that could be taken to improve preparedness, for example by expanding or establishing international laboratory networks that can work with high-threat pathogens not covered by existing networks.

This networking will build on existing international laboratory networks and activities supported by WHO/Europe and its partners, including:

  • WHO European Region influenza laboratory network;
  • WHO Emerging and Dangerous Pathogens Laboratory Network (EDPLN);
  • European expert laboratory network for emerging viral diseases (EVD-LabNet);
  • One Health Network for the prevention of vector-borne diseases around the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions (MediLabSecure);
  • Efficient response to highly dangerous and emerging pathogens at EU level (EMERGE).