ECDC is helping countries in the Western Balkans and Türkiye improve their infectious disease prevention and control systems and public health workforce. This will prepare the countries for their future participation in ECDC work.
Support to the Western Balkans and Türkiye aims to improve their ‘One-Health’ response to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and enhance surveillance of laboratory-confirmed severe acute respiratory infections (SARI).
Implementation is structured around three technical Work Streams (WS) to achieve the following:
- improve communicable disease surveillance and control capacities and health emergency preparedness capabilities, and to support the development of public health microbiology laboratory systems
- develop work packages for regional cooperation on ‘One-Health’ responses to AMR in the Western Balkans
- support effective surveillance systems in the Western Balkans through enhanced SARI surveillance.
The current project is being externally financed by the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) from DG NEAR at the European Commission.
Work Stream 1: Preparatory measures to enable the authorities of IPA beneficiaries to participate in ECDC activities and systems
The objective of work stream 1 is to support countries in the Western Balkans and Türkiye as they prepare for full participation in ECDC’s activities.
This will enable them to fulfil ECDC requirements for data and information submission (including completeness and timeliness) at the minimum level required by the EU.
The focus of this stream is to
- further enhance communicable disease surveillance and control capacities of beneficiary countries
- improve health emergency preparedness capabilities
- support the development of public health microbiology laboratory systems.
The expected results of this stream are
- better EU-level data so that communicable diseases surveillance data are more comparable, timely and reliable when an IPA beneficiary joins the EU or ECDC
- more comprehensive ECDC scientific and surveillance outputs in the long-term, covering a broader geographical area within Europe that includes the Western Balkans and Türkiye
- improved response to public health threats from infectious diseases at the national level, with better early detection of and response to serious cross-border threats at the EU level.
Work Stream 2: Improvement of ‘One-Health’ responses to antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
The objective of work stream 2 is to help improve ‘One-Health’ responses to antimicrobial resistance in the Western Balkans. This will allow possible national reforms and investments.
National experts from Türkiye participate in the activities of this work stream to share best practices on AMR among beneficiary countries. It will also help promote activities to reduce antibiotic resistance and consumption in Türkiye.
This work stream aims to
- identify needs and develop roadmaps for beneficiary countries
- support the development of electronic surveillance of AMR
- raise awareness
- secure political commitment for national interventions to enhance ‘One-Health’ responses to AMR in the Western Balkans
- involve experts from Türkiye in sharing experiences and learning from best practices.
The expected results of this stream for beneficiary countries are
- to detect and respond to AMR threats using a ‘One-Health’ approach more effectively
- to become an EU neighbourhood region applying best practices.
Work Stream 3: Enhancing SARI surveillance to support the implementation of fit-for-purpose surveillance systems and a follow-up on vaccine effectiveness
The objective of Work Stream 3 is to help improve laboratory-confirmed SARI surveillance in the Western Balkans to meet the same standards as in EU/EEA countries. The EU and ECDC have committed to help the Western Balkans improve their response to future public health emergencies similar to COVID-19.
This work stream aims to address the needs of the Western Balkans and enable their national authorities to join the ECDC SARI surveillance programme.
This will be done by providing technical, expert, and financial support. This stream will also facilitate the exchange of good practices within the Western Balkans and between the Western Balkan and EU/EEA countries.
The surveillance system will also be used to assess and monitor vaccine effectiveness for influenza and COVID-19.
The expected result for this stream is for the Western Balkan countries to be better prepared to effectively detect and respond to threats from viral respiratory diseases at a similar level to EU/EEA countries.
Source : ECDC