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Table Top Simulation Exercise, 11-12 July 2019, Tirana, Albania

Following the discussions of Influenza focal points meeting of Southeast European Countries, in Bucharest, Romania, in March 2019, the South East European Centre for Surveillance and Control of Infectious Diseases - SECID organized together with experts from - WHO - Euro and Public Health England – PHE, Table Top Simulation Exercise to test the cross border collaboration and country preparedness when there is human to human transmission of Avian Influenza, on 11th & 12th of July 2019, in Albania. The purpose of this Table Top Simulation Exercise was to test the ability on how to respond to a public health emergency like an outbreak of novel influenza virus, and provide participants with an opportunity to test the protocols currently in place, and identify new issues for cross-border preparedness and response. The main objectives were : Explore the interaction, coordination and communication between health and veterinary sectors and other associated authorities in cross border areas; Identify gaps in cross border surveillance activities and outbreak investigation; Explore the communication pathways between local, central authorities and cross border and what are the bottlenecks to share timely necessary information in an efficient manner and provide clear and practical steps to prevent miscommunication and maximize the collaboration; Explore the process of decision making regarding the timing of communicating information with the neighboring country and WHO by implementing IHR; Explore the identification and response to binational or multinational cases and outbreaks and current joint procedures and protocols; Identify collaborative public health and other measures including opportunities for resource sharing, necessary to limit or control the spread of disease and the existing gaps; Recognize differences in legislation, public health priorities between agencies/jurisdictions during emergencies and how these might affect collaboration in emergency situations; Explore the identification and response to binational or multinational cases and outbreaks and current joint procedures and protocols.

This exercise gathered together influenza focal points, IHR and threat detection focal points from human sector and from veterinary sector from SEE countries and expert from ECDC, RKI, WHO-Euro,WHO- Country Office Albania. The opening remarks were given by Dr. Fico, Director of Public Health, Tirana, Albania, Prof. Simpson from Public Health England, Dr. Mengistu from WHO Euro and Dr.Bino from South East European Center for Surveillance and Control of Infectious Diseases, SECID.

This activity was supported by Centres for Disease Control CDC , Atlanta, USA.