The German Kazakh network for addressing highly pathogenic microorganisms presented the results of its first project phase at a symposium at the end of October 2016. The event, which was held at Kazakh National Medical University in Almaty, drew national and international participants.
The opening of the symposium by the German Consul General was a visible symbol of the close cooperation that exists in this domain. In his welcoming remarks, he pointed out what the project is contributing to biological security and to health security in Kazakhstan. Dr Aizhan Yesmagambetova of the Committee for Consumer Protection at the Kazakh Ministry of National Economy emphasised that the German Kazakh project is significantly contributing to international cooperation, and that it is very important for the regions of Kazakhstan that it covers.
The German Biosecurity Programme: active in 12 partner countries
The Kazakhstan project, which was launched in 2013, is part of the Federal Foreign Office’s German Biosecurity Programme. The programme supports the aims of the Federal Government’s preventive security policy and comprises activities in 12 partner countries.
The German institution charged with implementing the Kazakhstan project is the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology. Project coordinator Dr Stefan Frey provided background information on this cooperation and described the project, which aims to support Kazakhstan’s efforts to manage biological security risks, such as the intentional misuse of biological pathogens. It does this primarily by conducting training sessions and through scientific research into the existence and detection of dangerous biological pathogens.
Results of the first phase of the project
The experts at the symposium then heard three specialist lectures that presented the current results. The two Kazakh doctoral candidates who received training through the project, Karlygash Abdiyeva and Nurkeldy Turebekov, provided a professional overview of testing for highly pathogenic microorganisms that had been conducted on ticks in the two pilot regions of Almaty and Kyzylorda. The project also performed comprehensive serological tests in 13 hospitals. This enabled the respective regions to more effectively monitor these biological threats and, if necessary, to react in a more rapid and appropriate way.
Both students emphasised the immediate value of the project in terms of international cooperation, enhancing biosecurity and supporting the health care system in Kazakhstan.
The symposium was rounded off with a presentation by Dr Sandra Eßbauer who is in charge of the project at the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology. She gave a brief overview of the recent very positive evaluation of the biosecurity project in Kazakhstan, and she described possible objectives for the coming years.