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EuropeAzerbaijan response to COVID-19: better testing and contact tracing are key

Azerbaijan response to COVID-19: better testing and contact tracing are key

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Azerbaijan should strengthen contact tracing and testing to further boost its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of WHO experts has recommended after visiting the country. The second team of WHO experts to visit Azerbaijan since the pandemic started, it also noted the country’s achievements in responding to the outbreak.

During a 10-day visit, the team found that most of the recommendations of the first team had been fully or partially implemented. The experts noted substantial investments in human resources, extensive use of digital health tools, and improvements in the care of COVID-19 patients. They suggested that data collection and analysis should also be improved.

“As the pandemic evolves, new challenges arise. Improvements in surveillance, testing strategy and thorough data analysis will help inform evidence-based decisions, including the implementation of public health measures,” said team leader, Dr David Novillo Ortiz, Unit Head of Health Information at WHO/Europe.

WHO/Europe experts in epidemiology and surveillance, data management, health facility management and risk communications visited primary health care centres and hospitals in Baku as well as in the Shamakhi and Ganja regions.

“Six months after WHO declared COVID-19 a public health emergency, this mission allowed us to reflect on Azerbaijan’s response from the epidemiological, clinical and communication perspectives, and to see how we can build on this valuable knowledge in the coming months,” said Dr Hande Harmanci, WHO Representative in Azerbaijan.

Strengthening health partnerships for better preparedness and response

Besides providing technical support through two COVID-19 response missions, WHO/Europe and the Country Office in Azerbaijan have implemented the REACT-C19 initiative. The project aims to facilitate exchange of expertise among health-care workers using digital platforms and innovative solutions.

The WHO Country Office in Azerbaijan is also implementing the European Union-funded “Solidarity for Health Initiative”, which supplies personal protective equipment to frontline responders in health-care facilities and provides technical assistance to the government.

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