Ashgabat, July 5, 2010 – On July 2, a World Bank supervision mission completed its visit to Turkmenistan in the framework of the Avian Influenza Control and Human Pandemic Preparedness and Response Project. The Project, which is funded through the Avian and Human Influenza (AHI) facility amounts to US$1.97 million, of which US$1.07 million is funded through the European Commission Single Donor Trust Fund and US$0.9 million through a Multi-Donor Trust Fund Grant. The grant is administered by the World Bank.
The Project comes with the aim to strengthen the country’s capacity to prevent the spread of avian influenza among poultry, prevent the transmission of avian influenza from birds to humans, and prepare for a pandemic, should it occur.
The major components of the project include the following:
(i) ‘Animal Health’ which provides support for prevention, control and total eradication of avian flu through better planning, coordination and surveillance mechanisms;
(ii) ‘Human Health’ which aims at reducing the impact of the influenza virus through public health planning and coordination, and by strengthening the public health surveillance and response capacity;
iii) ‘Public Awareness and Information’ a component which complements the efforts of donors like UNICEF, WHO and others as well as the “Health” Information Center of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry that are working on to minimize the risk of outbreaks and contamination, by ensuring that citizens understand the threat, and are aware of symptoms, with a view to influencing their behavior in order to protect themselves and their communities.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan oversees the implementation of the Project and is responsible for the overall coordination with the Veterinary Union and the Ministry of Nature Protection of Turkmenistan, while UNDP Turkmenistan assists the Government on fiduciary related aspects under the Project, specifically in Procurement and Financial Management.
The mission was especially pleased with the following achievements, accomplished over the past 6-months:
- Refurbishment of the Central Veterinary laboratory in Akhal velayat: Under the Project, the Central Veterinary laboratory has been fully refurbished to meet applicable biosafety and biosecurity standards for the highly pathogenic avian influenza. Further it will be equipped with state of the art laboratory equipment. In addition, the project has provided funding to refurbish the Sanitary and Epidemiology Service (SES) laboratory which is expected to be completed by end July. Also, project funded small repair works in the velayat veterinary laboratories.ç
- Procurement of lab equipment: laboratory equipment will be installed in the refurbished Central Veterinary laboratory and the SES laboratory. The equipment includes items such as: PCR machine, centrifuges, freezers and a number of laboratory disposable instruments and materials, as well as other items.
- Trainings under the Animal health component: FAO was engaged with the Veterinary authorities to provide master trainings on epidemiology and poultry diseases. Subsequently, cascade trainings took place in each of the velayats.
Turkmenistan has, so far, not had any recorded outbreaks of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Nevertheless, the risk to Turkmenistan of an HPAI outbreak remains significant as a result of migratory waterfowl patterns.
“We are pleased to have this collaboration with the Government of Turkmenistan, and throughout project implementation noted a high level of dedication by all stakeholders in achieving Project development objectives,” says Tamer Rabie, Senior Health Specialist and Project Team Leader based in Washington, DC. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Government of Turkmenistan on this project and others in the health sector.”
Turkmenistan signed the Articles of Agreement of the World Bank Group on September 22, 1992. The first Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Turkmenistan was presented to the World Bank’s Board on May 27, 1997. In 1996, the Bank established a Liaison Office in Ashgabat to enhance communications with the Government and to provide operational support. Currently, the World Bank Group continues to conduct a dialogue with the Turkmen Government by providing assistance in a number of areas of mutual interest.