The Iraq Ministry of Health (MoH), the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), and GHD/EMPHNET are working to strengthen laboratory-based surveillance of human and animal brucellosis in the country’s high-risk areas. This is a collaboration that has started in 2016 in the provinces of Babel and Diala, and it continues today to include other provinces.
Targeting additional districts within the provinces of Maysan and Wasit, GHD/EMPHNET, the MoH, and the MoA conducted a series of training workshops on brucellosis. These workshops targeted clinicians, laboratory technicians, and veterinarians. These new districts were incorporated into this series of training sessions because they have recently witnessed outbreaks of brucellosis. These districts were not previously included in 2017, but they are now high-risk areas because of their high animal population and their need for enhanced brucellosis diagnostics.
On March 3, 2019, at the Public Health Directorate of Maysan, a training was conducted for 30 clinicians and laboratory technicians working in the province’s Comprehensive Health Centers (CHCs). The participants were updated on topics related to brucellosis case definition, transmission, and diagnosis; and referral of suspected samples tested by Rose Bengal at the Comprehensive Health Center (CHC) to the Public Health Laboratory (PHL) for ELISA testing. Focus was also given to the different aspects of filling the investigation form.
On March 4, 2019, at the Veterinary Department of Maysan, a training targeted eight veterinarians working in animal disease diagnosis and treatment. The training focused on case definition of the brucella disease in animals, clinical signs, and the serological testing for animal brucellosis. In addition, the training focused on sample collection, preservation, and transportation. Furthermore, topics related to filling the investigation form and sending it to Baghdad Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL) for molecular testing were also covered.
The same training workshops were also conducted in Wasit: on March 5 for 24 clinicians: on March 6 for 24 technicians; and on March 7 for eight veterinarians.
In parallel to the afore-mentioned training workshops, a training was conducted at the Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) in Baghdad between March 5 and 6, 2019. Eight laboratory technicians working at the Public Health Laboratories (PHLs) of Maysan and Wasit participated in this workshop. These technicians were trained on diagnosing brucellosis using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Furthermore, the training also included sessions on other serological methods used for the diagnosis of brucellosis and the protocol of sample collection, preservation, and transportation from the PHLs in Maysan and Wasit to the CPHL in Baghdad.
Overall, these training workshops are aligned with the One Health concept, representing a strong collaboration between the human and the animal health sectors towards the goal of controlling brucellosis in high-risk areas within Iraq.