SHARP partners around a table at a conference

Planning of trainings kicks off in Serbia – cross-sectoral collaboration to be strengthened

WP8

The planning of trainings organised as part of SHARP Joint Action kicked off with a meeting in Serbia on November 12-13. Trainings, local exercises as well as exchange of working practices between the 26 partner countries will be conducted during the next two years in the core areas of the joint action. Dr. Verica Jovanovic, Director of the Institute of Public Health of Serbia (IPHS) in Belgrade, opened the meeting by warmly welcoming the partners, collaborating partners and stakeholders to IPHS, close to the iconic Temple of Saint Sava.

The main objective for SHARP is aimed to strengthen IHR implementation for serious cross-border threats, including communicable diseases, biological or chemical agents and environmental factors. With work package 8, this will be executed with cross-sectoral trainings focusing on planning and implementation of trainings, local exercises and exchange of local practices between the 26 partner countries participating SHARP Joint Action. The task of IPHS in the SHARP Joint Action is quite demanding, as they have 46 partners participating the training work package.

“It is interesting for IPHS to participate SHARP, as we will be involved in several work packages and coordinating WP8. Serbia has an almost one century long tradition in public health and its activities are constantly developing since the establishment of the first bacteriological laboratory in 1919”, says Dr. Verica Jovanovic, IPHS.

Among other public health achievements, Serbia was one of the first countries that eradicated smallpox. Serbia has gone through the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) of country capacity to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to public health risks occurring naturally or due to deliberate or accidental events. Serbia has developed their national risk communication plan and is currently developing their national action plan on health security.

During the meeting, the SHARP partners discussed possible approaches and perspectives to the training needs, as well as the development and implementation of curricula. Assessment of the training needs consists of assessing the training needs of SHARP partners, but also addressing the training expertise the partners can offer to partners from low GNI countries and to broader spectrum of IHR professionals.

“Some training needs are already identified, including risk communication, preparedness to and surveillance of chemical threats. Cross-sectoral collaboration between public health professionals, healthcare services and laboratory experts needs to be encouraged and supported by thoughtfully planned trainings and local exercises”, says WP8 leader Dr. Milena Vasic, IPHS.

Paul Riley from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and Adrienne Rashford from the World Health Organization European Office (WHO EURO) also participated the meeting. Both presented available resources to the project and shared their own experiences on how to implement trainings across different platforms.