The city of Bucharest in Romania was the host for this year for the Annual Influenza Meeting on the SEE Countries, Following – up on CSTE/CDC/SECID International Surveillance Mentorship Program and MEM Training, from 18-21 March 2019. Epidemiologists and Laboratory specialist form the Institute of Public Health of the SEE Countries and experts from CDC, ECDC and WHO Regional Office for Europe and Ukraine representatives were gathered in a three back to back meetings, organized in the framework of the project “Surveillance and Response to Avian and Pandemic Influenza”, funded by Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Atlanta USA.
The first event was the Annual Regional Influenza Meeting of South East European (SEE) Countries held on 18-19 March 2019.
During the last 5 years of the Co-Ag with CDC, SEE Countries has been able to achieve and make changes in influenza surveillance systems like establishment of ILI and SARI, sentinel surveillance, new database managements, laboratory diagnosis, NIC recognition, revised pandemic preparedness plans and improvement of collaboration with veterinary system and avian influenza surveillance. The aim of the meeting was to present Influenza Surveillance, Laboratory Diagnosis and Pandemic Preparedness and Response new developments in SEE countries, discuss and plan the sustainability of the achievements.
The objectives of the meeting:
• Present the current Influenza surveillance system in SEE countries and identify how to sustain the achievements and face the challenges;
• Identify the challenges to establish, improve and maintain joint databases for surveillance and laboratory diagnosis of influenza and the role of health information system.
• Evaluate the current influenza laboratory diagnosis and NIC developments and the challenges to maintain them in SEE countries;
• Present the current achievements and failures of human and veterinary sector, collaboration during influenza and avian influenza outbreaks, implementation of existing guidelines and the need for new ones.
• Discuss the current new revised pandemic preparedness and response plans the challenges to test and implement them;
• Evaluate the performance of all activities and the challenges Influenza project implementation and present way forward to build sustainable Influenza surveillance and response systems in SEE countries.
Right after the Annual Influenza Meeting took place the Follow – up on CSTE/CDC/SECID International Surveillance Mentorship Program.
The mentorship program provided an opportunity to connect US and international surveillance programs to (1) identify and prioritize areas for growth in surveillance program management, (2) develop implementation plans for priority recommendations, and (3) work together to achieve impactful advancements over a one year time frame.
In the end the participants were trained in a two day course for The Moving Epidemic Method (MEM) for influenza surveillance and severity assessment in cooperation with Public Health Directorate. Regional Health Department, Spain.