The Centre of Public Health and Nutrition of the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service, an innovative facility, which activity is aimed at scientific researches in the sphere of impact of social and biological factors on the health of the population in general, development of eco-friendly food technologies and standards of healthy nutrition, has been working for more than three years in Ashgabat.
This medical facility is provided with the most modern laboratory and medical equipment, which allows using advanced methods for solution of applied and innovative scientific and research, experimental and production objectives set for scientific medical personnel in their work.
Four-storey building with total are of 18,000 square meters accommodates departments for combating of spread of dangerous infectious diseases, state registration of food products and materials for their packing, laboratory control of markets, specialized food laboratories, environment laboratory, work, community and radiation hygiene, toxicology, bacteriology, virology, parasitology, departments of epidemiology and immunology with central storage of immune biological substances.
Specialists of the Centre make studies in quality and safety of food products, ecological and biological environment, prevention of diseases related to food and water as well as works in virology, bacteriology and parasitology for finding of the sources of infectious diseases.
Opening of this facility gave wide opportunities for highly organized realization of National Strategy of fulfilment of objectives outlined in the Ashgabat Declaration for prevention and control of non-infectious diseases in Turkmenistan in 2014 – 2020 and National Programme of Immune Prevention in Turkmenistan in 2003 – 2020 using modern scientific and technical approaches.
Innovative laboratory equipment installed in virology department with reference laboratory allows diagnosis viruses in short period. It also has biobank provided with automated system for safe storage of viruses.
In September 2019, the World Health Organization awarded the status of National Influenza centre and the status of the members of the Global System of WHO for epidemic monitoring and response to influenza to the Centre of Public Food and Nutrition of Turkmenistan.
As is known, the World Health Organization recognized absence of number of virus infections in Turkmenistan. Cases of measles and rubella have not been registered in Turkmenistan for many years. All of these is the result of steadfast work carried out in health protection sphere.
In the last years, influenza viruses mutates oversea, new types of infectious agents appear and threat of their rapid spread emerges. Laboratory of Ashgabat Centre of Public Heatlh and Nutrition has all capabilities to identify strains with high accuracy in a short period.
That was a reason for receiving of National Influenza Centre, which is official recognition by the World Health Organization, which delegates the right to participate in Global System of Epidemiological Monitoring and Response to Influenza, which is special programme of the WHO.
Therefore, the Centre of Public Health and Nutrition of Turkmenistan takes quality systematic measures for provision of sanitary and epidemiological wealth in the country on the level of international standards.
For this purpose, the Centre has a laboratory of biological safety, which is designated for study of samples of meat and dairy production, drinking water, soil for prevention of diseases caused by microorganisms of the 3rd tier of ecological safety, provision of safety and quality of food product in accordance with proposals and requirements of the WHO.
In addition, laboratories of the Centre study hygienic and cosmetic products, polymeric materials using equipment, which detects presence of salts of heavy metals, isotopes and other toxic substances, harmful components in consumer goods.
The centre has departments for study of food products by laboratory and instrumental, molecular and genetic and immunofermenting methods. For example, they identify number of hormones, availability of genetic modification in food product and to check dozens of quality parameters in general.
If previously such studies were made within six hours, now, it is made for one hour only. Specialists, who received training in profile laboratories in Germany, interpret received information on the base of latest information and programmes.
Few days ago, the Ministry of Health Protection and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan received the information that laboratory of physical, chemical, microbiological, molecular and genetic studies, which are the part of the department of study of food products of the Centre of Public Food and Nutrition of the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service, received international accreditation and relative certificate after expert evaluation of their activity.
This document was issued by the member of European Accreditation Cooperation, Latvian National Accreditation Bureau (LATAK) and certify compliance with ISO/IEC 17025:2017 international standards on General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories.
The work for accreditation of laboratories for study of food products of the Centre of Public Health and Nutrition was carried out together with the European Union Representative Office in Turkmenistan under the project Support to Further Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development in Turkmenistan (SARDIII).
Throughout 2019, relative laboratories of the Centre participated in inter-laboratory comparison test organized in Great Britain according to FAPAS programme, which is one of the most competent international competence evaluation programmes.
In November last year, expert group of LATAK has visited departments of the Centre for audit of laboratory activity on study of food products for detection of salts of heavy metals, nitrates, pesticides, genetically modified organisms, overall microbe quantity, Escherichia coli, salmonella, staphylococci, yeast mould by the methods of gas chromatography, ion selective, nuclear and absorption spectrometry, bacteriology and polymerase chain reaction.
By the results of thorough audit, all three laboratories received positive assessment on compliance with international standards, which indicates high level of national health protection sphere.
Accreditation of laboratories as per the above-mentioned standard is a recognition of the competence of their activity, which is aimed at improvement of the government monitoring and control of quality and safety of food products. It also means high quality of laboratory services during import and export of food products under international cooperation in trade and economic sphere.
It is worth to mention that in 2018, regional platform for cooperation in food sphere of Central Asian countries and Caucuses has been established. It was organized by relative international structures. Charing of Turkmenistan in secretariat of this platform in 2021 – 2022 with the headquarter on the base of the Centre of Public Health and Nutrition has been approved.
Joint study with international experts for detection of trans fats and salt in food products has been carried out for the first time in the country with support of the WHO Regional Bureau under FEEDCities Project in 2018 – 2019. At present, the Centre works on obtaining of the status of the WHO Cooperating Centre on these studies.
It is worth to say that similar certificate was issued by Latvian National Accreditation Bureau to the first in Turkmenistan private microbiological laboratory of Hil Standard Business Entity.
Opening of the laboratory is aimed at support in solution of objectives set by the leader of the nation for further improvement of competiveness of national goods in the world market. 1.5 million studies of oil, dairy, meat, fish, bakery, fruit, vegetable, confectionary production in 11 directions can be carried out per year in the Centre.
Increment of export volumes of goods meeting international quality standards is an important objective under rapid integration of our country to the system of global economy.
In this context, accreditation of Turkmen laboratories for study of food products will support further promotion of ‘Made in Turkmenistan’ trademark in the main foreign markets, proviso of health of the population and improvement of life level of the nation.
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