The World Health Organization awarded the status of National Influenza Centre and the membership of the WHO Global System for Influenza Epidemiological Monitoring and Response to National Laboratory of the Centre of Public Health and Nutrition of Turkmenistan (virology department with reference laboratory).
It became another evidence of the achievements of Turkmen health protection system, to development of which President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov pays utmost attention, which is reflected in colossal government investments to medical infrastructure of the country, provision of the sphere with latest technologies, support of active cooperation with the UN specialized structures including the World Health Organization.
The Centre of Public Health and Nutrition of Turkmenistan was opened together with other three profile medical centres in Ashgabat on July 21, 2016 on the Day of Health Protection and Medical Industry Personnel.
This Centre is the main link in the network of facilities of the State Sanitary and Epidemiology Service, which is coordinated authority for work with laboratories in regional branches. Special attention is also paid to informational, analytical and scientific activity of the Centre.
This is an innovative facility, which activity is aimed at scientific studies of the influence of social and biological factors on health of the population in general, development of eco-friendly food technologies and standards of healthy nutrition. the Centre has the most modern laboratory and medical equipment, which allows using advanced methods for solution of applied and implementation scientific and research, test and practical objectives.
Ten reference laboratories in such directions as food physical and chemical, food bacteriology, food molecular and genetic as well as toxicological, radiological as well as laboratory of environmental factors, microbiological virology, parasitological, bacteriological, dangerous infection (3rd grade of biological safety) laboratories have excellent equipment.
For three years of work, the Centre achieved big success in improvement of methods of study of food products, molecular and genetic studies, toxicological analysis of general daily use items like outfit, school items, children toys, etc.
The Centre also carries out extensive studies of air, water and soil. Undoubtedly, team of the Centre has achieved significant results in prevention of infectious diseases and their diagnostics.
Precise equipment, which is installed in virology department with reference laboratory, allows diagnosing viruses in short period. It also has biological bank provided with automatic system for safe storage of viruses. The department carries out an immunosorbant assay, polymerase chain reactions, artificial virus cultivation and study of DNA according to new methodology.
As is known, the WHO recognized at absence of number of virus diseases in the country. for many years, there was no a single case of measles and rubella. All of this is the result of steadfast work in health protection sphere.
In recent years, the viruses of influenza mutate in foreign countries, new infection agents appear and danger of their rapid spread arises. Laboratory of Ashgabat Centre of Public Health and Nutrition has all capabilities to identify the strain with high accuracy and for short period.
This was the reason why the laboratory received the status of National Influenza Centre, which is official recognition by the World Health Organization that delegated the right to participate in the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS), which is special programme of the WHO.
Under this global partnership, National Influenza Centres (NICs) carry out annual surveillance, collect and test clinical samples in their countries and exchange the viruses with the WHO Information and Research Centre, which allows making analysis of virology data and recommending the composition of vaccine against influenza for coming season.
In addition, the Centres identify sensitivity of circulated strains to antiviruses and present laboratory protocol and renewed agents.
The GISRS also works as a mechanism of global prevention of influenza viruses with pandemic potential, which exchange is carried out in accordance with the Mechanism of provision of readiness to pandemic influenza, which was adopted at the 64th session of the World Health Protection Assembly in May 2011.
New status of reference laboratory in the Virology Department of the Centre of Public Health and Nutrition of Turkmenistan provides activation and expansion of its cooperation with international organizations including the exchange of information. Laboratory samples and results of studies will be send to London branch of the WHO for confirmation of the test twice a year.
Based on all date, every year, the World Health Organization gives recommendation for development of vaccine following received results. For example, certain vaccine is required if certain type of influenza prevails in the Eastern hemisphere. The same is applicable for the Western, Northern and Southern hemispheres. The efficiency of influenza vaccine depends on how circulating viruses match the viruses contained in the vaccine.
Dangerous types of influenza were not observed in Turkmenistan due to comprehensive preventive system of infectious diseases, strict control of epidemiological condition and wide immunization of the population. However, there are seasonal types like in any other country, which we have to hold under control.
Immunization growth in scale in our country every year. This year, it is planned to increase the coverage of the population by 20 percent comparing with the last year.
Therefore, the Centre of Public Health and Nutrition of Turkmenistan provides systematic measures for provision of sanitary and epidemiological control on the level of international standard in the country.
Supported by the WHO European Bureau, this Centre held many activities for prevention of influenza among the population, strict laboratory control is carried out throughout last several years. Thus, virology laboratory of the Centre has developed and implemented the isolation and identification methods of influenza viruses.
For five years, the WHO Influenza Centre in Hong Kong used to send ‘blind samples’ to the Centre of Public Health and Nutrition of Turkmenistan to evaluate knowledge of personnel of national virology service and every year, reference virology laboratory was receiving the Certificate of the World Health Organization for successful participation in evaluation of the quality of influenza viruses identification.
Besides, specialists of virology laboratory had a training in Smorodinov Influenza Scientific and Research Centre, which is WHO Collaborating Centre for European region in Saint Petersburg (Russian Federation). Later, experts of Smorodinov Influenza Scientific and Research Centre conducted several master classes in Turkmenistan for our laboratory specialists for improvement of practical potential and enhancement of knowledge.
From January 2019, viology reference laboratory has started sending isolated viruses to WHO Collaborating Centre - Francis Crick Institute in London (Great Britain) with input of weekly report on result of work to electronic base of the World Health Organization (TESSI). In the result, the work of virology laboratory was highly appreciated according to ISO “Standard and Quality Control of Medical Laboratories.
In April this year, specialists of WHO have made expert assessment of national reference virology laboratory of the Centre of Public Health and Nutrition, which resulted in decision to award with the status of National Influenza Centre.
Besides the World Health Organization, Turkmenistan has close cooperation with other UN authorities operating in health protection sphere. For examples, these are the United Nation Population Fund – UNFPA (issues of protection of reproductive health and health of mothers and children), the United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF).
Numerous health protection issues are reviewed by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as well as directly by the UN General Assembly. In September last year, delegation of the Ministry of Health Protection and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan took part in the 73rd session of the United Nation General Assembly and in the third High-level session on prevention and control of non-infectious diseases.
Comprehensive review of the progress achieved in global and national level in provision of measures for protection of people from early death caused by cardiac, lung, oncological diseases and diabetes have been presented at the forum/
National model for control of tobacco, which successfully works in our country and recommended by the WHO European Bureau for use in other countries, was presented as an example. It was mentioned that national strategies for prevention of abuse of alcohol, enhancement of physical activity of the citizens and protection of mental health of the population have been adopted in Turkmenistan in July 2018.
Other events on certain direction of social and medical practice with participation of representatives from Turkmenistan were held in the fields of High-level session.
This year, top officials of the health protection sphere of our country also participate in the session of UN General Assembly and High-level session on universal health protection services organized under the leader of the Chairman of the UN General Assembly in close consultation with World Health Organization.
It will be the most important political meeting on this matter and relative declaration will be issues by its outcomes, which will be agreed with member states and will serve as the base or global efforts for provision of common access to inexpensive and qualitative medical service according to the Goal No. 3.8 of Sustainable Development.
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