Briefing on the outcome of the visit of the mission of European Regional Bureau of the World Health Organization to Turkmenistan, which was held by invitation of the Government of the country, took place in the Trade and Industrial Chamber.
Official of the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Health Protection and Medical Industry, other government bodies, heads of diplomatic missions of foreign states and international organization accredited in the country, correspondents of local and foreign mass media took part in the meeting.
Numerous representatives of printing and electronic media of number of states from all over the world were able to take part in the press conference, which was dedicated to review of current situation and measures taken by the country for successful combating of coronavirus infection of new type, by video conference communication.
Owing to the comments in global internet network on outcomes of previous information meetings, the world community is well aware of large-scale work carried out in Turkmenistan for prevention of appearance and spread of coronavirus and other dangerous infections in the country.
Consulting and technical mission of experts of European Regional Bureau of the World Health Organization has been invited to Turkmenistan for familiarization with preventive measures taken in the country, which efficiency is proven by absence of COVID-19 infection cases among the population, as well as with development of response measures in case of outbreak of this dangerous disease.
During the visit, which has started on July 6, WHO representatives visited various medical facilities, laboratories in Lebap and Balkan Regions and in Ashgabat, checkpoints at the state border with neighbouring countries, in particular Uzbekistan and Afghanistan borders, as well as Turkmenbashy International Seaport, which is a sea gate of Turkmenistan.
Being on sites, the experts inspected the activity in the sphere of epidemiological control, laboratory diagnostic, clinical treatment of patients, preventive and infection control measures.
By the outcomes of 10-day visit to our country, representatives of the World Health Organization developed number of recommendations and proposals, which will be considered by Turkmen side in the process of further development of national health protection system and other government bodies. Improvement of current preventive measures for non-admission of infections will be the main goal of this work.
It was noted that the Government of Turkmenistan responded immediately to the threat and started implement actual preventive measures for protection of our country from entry of the infection from the first days of appearance of new coronavirus infection in the world.
Staged restrictive measures for crossing of the state border have been introduced in the beginning of January this year. Sanitary and quarantine control has been enforced, thermal imaging is used for checking o body temperature, strict control of coming and going citizens is carried out.
Centre of prevention and enforcement of preventive measures against entry of the pathogen of SARS with unknown etiology has been established under the Ministry of Health Protection and Medical Industry by the decision of Emergency Anti-epidemiological commission, which composition includes representatives of relative ministries and departments.
Similar headquarters, which work 24/7, have been established in the regions. Guideline for preventive measures, diagnostic and treatment of new coronavirus infection, which was approved by scientific medical council, has been developed.
All works in the country are carried out in strict compliance with national legislation under the State Health Programme and Sanitary Code of Turkmenistan.
Methodological documents for prevention and epidemiological control of infectious diseases, state sanitary control of activity of different business entities as well as methods of laboratory tests of environment including water, food products, air, soil, etc. have been updated.
With regards to fulfilment of international obligations, Turkmenistan is the eighth country in the world and the first in European region of WHO, which underwent Joint External Assessment of the readiness of the country to emergency situation in public health protection and implementation of requirements of International Medical and Sanitary Rules (2005) in June 2016.
Air flights from foreign countries have been suspended under the measures for prevention of entry and spread of infection from March this year as well restrictions on entry and leave of citizens and various road, river and maritime transport have been introduced.
Services of the Ministry of Health Protection and Medical Industry, especially the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service, carry out integrated preventive measures and routine control of seasonal diseases.
School spring holidays have been extended for thorough disinfection of classes and territories of schools. Sanitizing of public places and transport is carried out throughout this time. Permanent monitoring of internal movement of people is carried out. Checkpoints for screening of citizens were placed at borders of the regions, documents on physical health conditions are checked.
At present time, special departments for reception of patients in case of outbreak of coronavirus infection in the country are opened in infectious disease clinics of Ashgabat and regions. Departments for isolation, treatment and provision of quarantine measures are converted from existing medical facilities.
Practical training is carried out with specialists for correct use of personal protective equipment and compliance with anti-epidemic measures at preventive and treatment facilities and entry points.
Reserve of antivirus, antibacterial and other medicines as well as necessary disinfectants, personal protective equipment and other material has been made. Certain medical facilities work in high alert mode.
Sufficient quantity of test systems for diagnostic of COVID-19, which supplies are periodically supplemented, have been bought. Diagnostic studies are carried out in virology laboratory of the Centre of Public Health and Nutrition, which has a status of National Influenza Centre, and in five regional attested laboratories. All specialists of the centres had special training.
At present time, all people who are engaged in cargo transportation by road and railway transport are tested for COVID-19 and put on mandatory 14-day quarantine at all entry points.
Disinfection terminals have also been built and put into operation. Disinfection and fumigation of production of plant origin is carried out at road and railway transport before entering of the country.
Aerial spraying of disinfectants from aircrafts, taking into account the requirements for safe use of disinfectants for people’s health and environment, is carried out for prevention of harmful impact of exogenic factors on frontier territories.
Turkmenistan Coronavirus Infection Readiness and Response Plan has been developed together with WHO and other structural divisions of the UN. All planned activities provided by the Plan are actively implemented under support of WHO Country Office and various UN agencies, ministries and departments of our country.
Procurement of necessary equipment, resources and materials is carried out under provision of the Plan. Shipment of various medical items and equipment has been delivered to the country few days ago.
Administrations of Ashgabat and regions have developed and approved the Plans of prevention and disinfection of organizations and facilities regardless of the ownership.
Regulations on Use of Personal Protective Equipment for personnel of services working in control checkpoints of the State border of Turkmenistan , Guideline for fulfilment of sanitary requirements and current disinfection of all facilities and organizations regardless from the ownership for prevention of spread of new coronavirus infection have been introduced
Training of use of personal protective equipment, anti-epidemic and disinfection measures including protective measures working with patients suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 are held in medical facilities on regular basis. Special attention is paid to explanatory sanitary and educational activity for prevention of virus diseases.
It was said at the briefing that proposals have been made in the result of long studies of Turkmen scientists, medics, ecologists and specialists of hydrometeorological and other scientific spheres that substances dangerous for people’s health including viruses can be transferred by airflows in sensitive ecological environment of Central Asia long.
In this regard, during regular session of the State Anti-Epidemic Emergency Commission, it was decided on mandatory use of medical masks by medical specialists, personnel of trade industry, transport and other organizations providing services to the population of the country.
It was noted that the Ministry of Health Protection and Medical Industry would take into account all recommendations and proposals of WHO experts, which would help improving national potential and enhance work in this direction.
The results of this activity have proven importance of measures taken by Turkmenistan for prevention of spread of new coronavirus.
Having assured the readiness of Turkmen side to further joint measures aimed at improvement of solidarity in combating of pandemic, the Head of the Foreign Ministry asked the Head of WHO delegation Kathrine Smallwood to convey gratitude addressed by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to General Director of WHO Tedros Ghebreyesus and Head of WHO European Bureau Hans Kluge for the decision to send consulting and technical mission to our country.
It was noted that constructive character of cooperation makes basis for further fruitful cooperation on professional level between Turkmen medics and specialists of World Health Organization.
Joint work, which was done under current visit, allowed verifying approaches to synchronization of national efforts with strategies and plans of combating of new threat developed under the WHO, in particular by its European Regional Bureau.
The reports given at the briefing contained detailed measures taken under the leadership of the Head of Turkmenistan. Special emphasis has been made on decisions taken by results of the last session of established Government Commission for Combating of Dangerous Infectious Diseases.
Thus, Turkmenistan has introduced new significant measures aimed at prevention of spread of virus infections from the beginning of this week. In particular, organization of mass cultural, public and sport events, official conferences, celebrations and religious ceremonies, work of big shopping centres for disinfection, railway and road communication between Ashgabat and regions of the country, work of children health improving centres have been limited.
Organization of entry exams to high and secondary professional educational institutes and development of regulation of compliance of requirements for provision of social distancing in public places are planned.
Special attention of participants of the briefing has been focused on international aspects of work, cooperation between Turkmenistan and international organizations and other states as well as on the main points, on which our country builds its activity for prevention of pandemic and minimization of social, economic and humanitarian impact caused by the pandemic.
It was said that Turkmen side notes the main and leading role of WHO in coordination of activity of the world community in combating of COVID-19 and development of consolidated and coordinated response to global challenges.
Turkmen leader highlights that efficiency of multilateral efforts can be achieved only at strict compliance with multi-purpose and scientifically based rules and recommendation of WHO for combating of coronavirus infection by all states.
In this context, proposals of the President of Turkmenistan made during multilateral summits and online conference on the highest level, in particular on promotion of tools of scientific diplomacy and establishment of international medical scientific council, receive special importance in this context.
Making specific proposals, Turkmenistan thoroughly studies and analyses proposals of partners from other countries and competent international structures.
In this regard, importance of established COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) and initiatives of the World Health Organization Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator has been highlighted.
Turkmen side expressed gratitude to the specialists of WHO for detailed explanation of practical importance of the above-mentioned mechanisms and capabilities that were made for consolidation of efforts in combating of pandemic.
Thus, the main goal of C-TAP is to provide equal access to efficient medical means, especially to vaccine, with special focus on the groups of population, which require vaccination in priority order.
Very soon, the subjects of promotion of goals and objectives of C-TAP platform will be elaborated on special event, which is planned to be held under the Regional Session of WHO on paediatrics during global spread of acute infectious diseases.
Today, Turkmenistan takes entire complex of necessary measures in combating of spread of coronavirus. First of all, it is based on three elements – strong equipment and facility base of health protection system, qualified personnel as well as rapid development of medical science, introduction of advanced methods prevention and treatment of various diseases. This is a solid foundation used by Turkmenistan at present for combating against COVID-19.
Range of measures for enforcement of border, customs and migration modes, sanitary, epidemiological and phito-sanitary control as well as veterinary monitoring for prevention of physical entry of infection to the country has been taken at the first stage.
At the same time, system of regular provision of population with free medicine supporting strengthening of immune system of people has been organized. Programme of total
Complex of preventive measures is implemented for exclusion of transboundary spread of the infection taking into account geographic features of Turkmenistan. In this regard, test of water from Caspian Sea and transboundary rivers is made on daily basis.
Turkmen side repeatedly said that it does not exclude the impact of natural factors on outbreak and spread of various dangerous diseases. That is why this theme has become a subject of separate discussion.
Air masses, which are formed up in the zone of ecological disaster caused by drying of Aral Sea, which make negative impact on nature, climate and health of people living in Aral Sea region and far beyond its borders, are of special danger. Dust and salt storms, which carry especially harmful substances from the bottom of drying Aral Sea, are spread thousands of kilometres around and present real danger for life of people.
The participants of the briefing have been informed about scientific and research work carried out in Turkmenistan in such important direction as study of correlation, in other words the mutual relation, of the ratio between the level of air pollution and level of prevalence of certain diseases. First of all, infectious, oncological, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory tract diseases, allergy and number of other serious illnesses are related to them.
Achieving specific results proving the correctness of the above-mentioned approach, development of relative national standards for health protection system has to be initiated.
Taking into account the factor of negative impact caused by Aral Sea ecological catastrophe on air pollution in Turkmenistan, the country has started decontamination of air using special aviation equipment for prevention of spread of airborne pathogenic microorganisms from July 14.
Detailed information has been presented and relative video has been demonstrated as visual illustration to the participants.
It was mentioned that the above-metnioned preventive measures and additional activity for prevention of spread of dangerous virus infections are carried out on systematic base under National Acute Infectious Disease Readiness and Response Plan and Turkmenistan Operational Social and Economic Activity Plan for prevention of coronavirus pandemic, which were developed together with the Office of the UN Permanent Coordinator in Turkmenistan.
Development of the third national plan covering humanitarian component of measures for combating of COVID-19 taken by the country will be the next step in cooperation with the UN.
It will follow the documents developed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) as well as practical work carried out by Turkmenistan with neighbouring countries in the region.
Noting firm intent to continue what has been started in close cooperation with the UN departments, Turkmen side made special focus on importance of recommendations developed by the outcomes of the visit of the WHO mission to our country. at present time, it has become a subject of detailed analysis and study by specialists of the Ministry of Health Protection and other relative structures.
Head of the Country Office of the World Health Organization Paulina Kwarowska expressed gratitude to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for imitative approach to construction of multidimensional cooperation and big contribution to total efforts for combating spread of new coronavirus infection.
It was stated that Turkmenistan has taken efficient measures for prevention of the pandemic starting from provision of social distancing, wearing of medical masks, application of other personal protective equipment and other.
Further preventive measures, which are included to special national plans, are also provided.
The mission has defined the most efficient measures for non-admission of entry and spread of infections in Turkmenistan, minimization of impact of coronavirus on life and health of people.
Entire work of WHO is based on recognized international medical and sanitary regulations, recommendations of the mission have been brought up to the Ministry of health Protection and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan and will be presented further in explanatory notes, reports and papers.
Head of consulting and technical mission of the World Health Organization, Senior Emergency Response Specialists of European Regional Bureau of WHO Kathrine Smallwood expressed gratitude for good organization of current visit.
During the trip to the regions and stay in Ashgabat, the WHO experts have had number of meetings for familiarization with practical measures taken for prevention of entry of coronavirus to the country.
It was noted that this respiratory disease is spread by direct or indirect contact with infected patient. The states have to take all necessary measures and actions to save health and life of the population with the progress of epidemiological situation in any country.
In this regard, Kathrine Smallwood made special mention of significant efforts put by Turkmenistan for prevention of entry of COVID-19 to the country. implemented measures including checkpoints at the border of the country show efficiency of works for prevention of spread of infection among the population. The WHO approves these measures and will continue rendering relative support to Turkmenistan.
Mobilization of the population and all sectors of national economy, necessary measures for infection control have to be taken in timely manner. It is important to continue providing the main services of health protection. It was noted that the WHO recommends certain measures and gives guideline based on the base of confirmed facts, which are justified.
None of the country in the world has full knowledge about this pandemic. As of today, there is no confirmed information about coronavirus infection in Turkmenistan and such information was never received by the WHO. The Head of the mission highlighted that the World Health Organization is planning to continue working in national power authorities.
During the visit to Turkmenistan, the experts studied in details measures taken in epidemiological monitoring sphere and stated that the country has all capabilities for testing and potential for its increment in case it is necessary. All of these was to support of continuation of uninterrupted international trade and transport communication in future.
Members of expert group have inspected clinical preparation, described all points of the country, which they have visited, in particular medical facilities of different levels like district, regional and country levels.
Turkmenistan recognizes the risks related to COVID-19 and would put all efforts to prevent entry of disease into the country. The work that have been carried among the population says that these measures have been successful. Turkmenistan has a plan and we are ready to provide support in its implementation, the WHO representatives highlighted.
Entry points, including road, maritime and air, take certain measures following assignments of Emergency Anti-epidemiological Commission strictly.
It was stated that import of all necessary commodities including personal protection equipment, consumables and other material necessary for combating of coronavirus infection is carried out. Existing laboratories on national and subnational levels are able to detect the cases of this dangerous disease.
Summing up the outcomes of the visit to Turkmenistan, the head of the WHO mission gave number of strategic recommendations.
First, the Government has to continue focusing efforts on prevention of entry of infection and taking all necessary measures for prevention of its spread.
For this purpose, it was recommended to continue strengthening the system of public health protection and health protection system in general for development of response measures and enhancement of potential for prevention of ways of infection of this dangerous disease among the population.
It means that it is necessary to take quarantine measures for isolation of all suspected people.to monitor all who were in contact with diseased person and to provide full treatment in case some is infected.
As one of the recommendations, it was proposed to improve the relations with public, to make the population aware of all decisions taken by Emergency Anti-epidemiological Commission.
Review of the system of clinical treatment of COVID-19 in entire sector of health protection in order to the work for coronavirus would not be harmful for other medical services has been also noted.
The WHO experts have approved and supported the measures taken by Turkmenistan since the beginning of the year for prevention of entry of disease to the country. the WHO is ready to continue cooperating with Turkmenistan in combating against new threats of public health protection system, which may have direct or underlying impacts for daily life, Kathrine Smallwood said, having again expressed gratitude to representatives of the Ministry of Health Protection for organized work.
From her side, the UN Permanent Coordinator in Turkmenistan Elena Panova has also expressed gratitude to the Government of the country for invitation and organization of visit of the WHO mission. Importance of integrated measures for prevention of coronavirus infection in the beginning of this week has been highlighted.
The threat of global pandemic make influence on two important aspects of life – health of the population and social and economic situation. Active work has been carried out in the last months and two main national plans that received high political support have been developed with the UN support.
It is important that this activity would be carried out in all directions at the same time, following the urge of the UN Secretary General on stable rehabilitation after the pandemic. Realization of set objectives has to be based on following of human rights.
Only by this, we will be able to find the most efficient and integrated ways of recovery after current emergency situation and return to normal life tomorrow. Development of clear and precise messages for the population introduced measures is a part of these efforts, the UN Permanent Coordinator in Turkmenistan said.
It was mentioned that the UN system in Turkmenistan would continue work closely with the Ministry of Health Protection and Medical Industry as well as with all national partners in fulfilment of recommendation developed by expert mission and measures under successful plans with the focus on the most vulnerable levels of the population.
Mutual readiness to continue taking measures for implementation of reached agreements aimed at strengthening of solidarity in combating against coronavirus have been expressed during detailed discussion of the problem.
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