Participation of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation in activities for the prevention and control of new coronavirus infection, organized in foreign countries

O.V. GRIDNEV, M.D., Deputy Health Minister of the Russian Federation

S.M. MURAVYOV, the Head of International Cooperation and Public Relations Department of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation

For citation: Gridnev O.V., Muravyov S.M. Participation of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation in activities for the prevention and control of new coronavirus infection, organized in foreign countries. – Vestnik Roszdravnadzora. – 2020. – Vol. 4. – P. 15–22.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.35576/2070-7940-2020-4-15-22

Keywords: the international cooperation, prevention and treatment of new coronavirus infection, experience exchange, training of medical staff, humanitarian missions, fight against pandemic

Introduction

The article provides an overview of the results of the work of the Ministry of Health of Russia on cooperation with executive government bodies of foreign states, international specialized organizations, as well as foreign medical organizations in order to prevent the spread of new coronavirus infection and treatment of the disease through the exchange of theoretical and practical experience, advanced knowledge and best practices in fight against the pandemic.

The outbreak of new coronavirus infection has become a test of strength for the whole world, while the level of preparedness of health systems for the new challenge in different countries turned out to be different. To identify the most effective ways to fight the spread of infection and take effective measures in fighting the pandemic, it is necessary not only to mobilize all the country’s internal resources, but also to constantly exchange information and experience gained between experts from all countries.

            Thus, the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation takes an active part in the development of cooperation with foreign colleagues in prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, including new coronavirus infection.

            The Russian experience in implementing a set of measures to counter the fight of a new coronavirus infection, in providing medical care under the conditions of the pandemic, which is eagerly sought internationally and presented at all major international venues will be described in this article.

Collaboration with integration associations

The Russian Ministry of Health gives priority attention to interaction with such integration associations as Eurasian Economic Union and Commonwealth of Independent States. The exchange of information, technologies and methods of treatment, providing care is carried out with foreign colleagues both bilaterally and within the framework of international organizations, for example, BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). An important area of work is collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO).

Monitoring of epidemiological situation

From the first days of the outbreak of a new coronavirus infection in People’s Republic of China, the interaction with Chinese colleagues on daily notification and monitoring of epidemiological situation in China was established with a help of the Russian Embassy in Beijing. Analytical materials were further used in the compilation of the Russian guidelines and recommendations for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19. The delegation of experts from the Ministry of Health of Russia was the first that the authorities of People’s Republic of China agreed to accept on February 5-7, 2020 to provide expert help on bilateral basis. On February 15-26, 2020 Russian experts as part of the International Technical Group of the World Health Organization took part in a mission to the People’s Republic of China to observe the origin of the new coronavirus.

Experience exchange

The exchange of experience and best practices is the most important area of work. The Russian Ministry of Health initiated the development of a collection of the world’s best practices for fighting the new coronavirus infection of the G20 countries. Similar collections are developed by the Ministry within the framework of the BRICS and SCO associations.

Besides, the Minister of Health of the Russian Federation M.A. Murashko regularly informs foreign colleagues about the experience of the Russian Federation in the fight of new coronavirus infection. Thus, the efforts of the Russian Federation were presented at key international events – a meeting of the G20 Council of Ministers, the World Health Assembly, a special meeting of the CIS Health Cooperation Council.

The delegation of the Ministry of Health of Russia headed by the Minister of Health of the Russian Federation M.A. Murashko attended the special XXXI meeting of the CIS Health Cooperation Council on June 30, 2020 dedicated to the discussion of the epidemiological situation associated with the new coronavirus infection in the CIS member-states.

In the meeting of the Council took part plenipotentiaries from the following Republics: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and also the representatives of the CIS Executive Committee, the Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the CIS and the WHO European regional office.

The presented reports of the Russian delegation on the measures taken to fight the spread of the new coronavirus infection, the organization of medical care for children and patients with diabetes mellitus with the new coronavirus infection aroused considerable interest. Members of the Council highly appreciated the immediate measures taken by the CIS member nations in the fight against the pandemic of new coronavirus infection and agreed to further develop cooperation in the Commonwealth space.

The Russian Ministry of Health constantly participates in the work of the Coordination Council on the problems of the sanitary protection of the territories of the CIS member states from the import and spread of dangerous infectious diseases (hereinafter – Coordination Council). Thus, on March 19, April 21 and June 1, 2020, there were unscheduled meetings of Coordination Council to exchange of practical experience in carrying out events to fight the spread of the new coronavirus infection, in which the representatives of the Russian Ministry of Health took part.

Within the framework of the chairmanship of the Russian Federation, on May 7, 2020, a meeting of senior BRICS health officials was held, the main topic of which was the strengthening of control and diagnosis of COVID-19, as well as the search for an effective method of treating patients with a confirmed diagnosis. At the initiative of the Russian side the BRICS partners were offered to work out the issue of creating in the BRICS format a Complex early warning system of the risks of biological threats.

Education and training of medical staff

A significant area of work is helping foreign colleagues in training medical staff to help the diseased with coronavirus.

Leading Russian scientists and clinicians taking into account the WHO recommendations have developed an interactive training course for the training of medical staff “A Comprehensive program for responding to the spread of the new COVID-19 coronavirus infection”, materials of which are also freely available on the official website of the Russian Ministry of Health.

As communication with foreign partner shows, a number of CIS member countries are experiencing problems with the timely training of medical staff to treat patients diseased with the new coronavirus infection. The Russian Ministry of Health promptly developed special educational modules for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of new coronavirus infection that were subsequently donated to the WHO European regional office to carry out the training of medical staff in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan).

In addition to it, the guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a new coronavirus infection, for organizing medical care to pregnant women as well as for the peculiarities of clinical implications and treatment of the disease caused by COVID-19 in children, developed by the Russian Ministry of Health and constantly updated on the basis of accumulated experience and international data are publicly available on the official website of the Russian Ministry of Health and are actively used by medical specialists of all the CIS member states.

Specialists of the Russian Ministry of Health have helped in the development of national guidelines for the detection and treatment a new coronavirus infection to the Republic of Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic.

Leading experts of the Russian Ministry of Health and foreign specialists are in daily contact on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with COVID-19 and are actively using the possibilities of videoconferencing. A cycle of webinars to exchange experience in fighting new coronavirus infection was held with 20 countries of the world, including the CIS countries (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan) and other countries (Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, South Korea, Indonesia etc.).

Taking into account the necessity to improve the training of medical staff, associated with the spread of new coronavirus infection, foreign colleagues were offered to seize the opportunities of the portal of continuous medical and pharmaceutical education of the Russian Ministry of Health.

Developed by “the Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University” of the Russian Ministry of Health, educational portal provides healthcare specialists with access to all components of continuous education: additional professional programs of continuing education, interactive educational modules and educational events. The portal contains a special section dedicated to the organization of healthcare delivery at the time of new coronavirus infection.

In connection with the appeal of South Kazakhstan Medical Academy from June 1 to June 4, 2020 By the National Medical Research Phthisiopulmonology and Infectious Diseases Center of the Russian Ministry of Health with the involvement of leading specialists from the Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University of the Russian Ministry of Health for Kazakhstani medical specialists webinars were organized for pediatricians, infectious disease specialists, phthisiologists, epidemiologists, chief medical officers of snit-tuberculosis medical organizations, primary healthcare organizations of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the following topics:

Organization of specific laboratory research for the diagnosis of COVID-19 using nucleic acid amplification methods;

Features of clinical implications and treatment of the disease caused by new coronavirus infection in children;

Recommendations for the provision of anti-tuberculosis care under the conditions of the pandemic a new coronavirus infection;

Clinic, differential diagnosis, treatment and prevention of a new coronavirus infection.

In accordance with the note of the Embassy of Turkmenistan in the Russian Federation, the Russian Ministry of Health held a videoconference on July 8, 2020 with the participation of specialists of the Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Ministry of Health and National Quality Institute of Roszdravnadzor with specialists-virologists and microbiologists of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan, during which they discussed the issues of COVID-19 laboratory diagnostics and the use of new medicaments registered in the Russian Federation for the treatment of new coronavirus infection.

A number of videoconferences of the experience exchange on a whole range of issues related to the diagnosis and treatment of patients with new coronavirus infection, peculiarities of clinical course of the disease and treatment of patients with varying severity, organization of emergency medical care on an outpatient and inpatient basis, prevention of nosocomial spread of new coronavirus infection conducted with specialists of the Republic of Uzbekistan (National Medical Research of Phthisiopulmonology, Republican Specialized Scientific and Practical Center of Phthisiology and Pulmonology, Republican Scientific Center of Emergency Medical Aid, Tashkent Medical Academy). Uzbek specialists expressed gratitude for the consulting and methodological assistance and noted common approaches to organizing the provision of medical care to patients with new coronavirus infection.

Taking into account the significant number of practical questions on the part of Uzbek colleagues on the treatment of patients with new coronavirus infection, an agreement was reached to conduct videoconferences by the I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University and National Medical Research Phthisiopulmonology and Infectious Diseases Center with the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan on an ongoing basis.

On June 10, 2020 an international conference was conducted on the topic: “Coronavirus infection: fundamental, clinical and epidemiological aspects. Socio-economic Challenges to Healthcare” organized by the Academies of Sciences of Russia and Belarus online. Belarusian and Russian experts discussed the emergence, evolution and epidemiology of coronaviruses, development of new technologies of prevention, diagnosis and treatment, modern approaches to developing complex strategic solutions working with untoward conditions, clinical aspects of patient management, the development of potential inhibitors using virtual screening.

The conference was attended by the Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Director of the E.I. Martsynovskiy Institute of Medical Parasitology, Tropical and Transmissible Diseases of the I.M. Sechenov MSMI of the Russian Ministry of Health Lukashev A. with a report “Coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2: emergence, evolution and epidemiology”, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, CEO of the V.A. Almazov National Medical Research Center, the President of the Russian Cardiological Community E.Shlyakhto with a report “Clinical aspects of managing patients with COVID-19: lessons and expectations”. Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Chief Epidemiologist of the Russian Ministry of Health, Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Evidentiary Medicine of the I.M. Sechenov MSMU N.Briko with a report “Epidemiological aspects of new coronavirus infection”.

Within the framework of the Russian chairmanship in the SCO, the Russian Ministry of Health pays particular attention to the problems of infection of medical staff as well as to the formation of educational problems on the organization of safe work with patients diseased with coronavirus infection or with suspected one. An agreement was reached on the need to develop guidelines of the safety of medical staff in the SCO member countries on the national level.

Russian Humanitarian Missions: Secondment of Medical Specialists

Under the conditions of fighting the pandemic it has become extremely important to dispatch medical specialists from the Russian Federation to provide assistance to foreign colleagues, who are experiencing the shortage of medical staff. Russian medics were sent as part of Russian humanitarian mission to Italy, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Azerbaijan Republic, the Republic of Abkhazia.

In March-April 2020 the experts of the Russian Ministry of Health as part of the delegation of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation visited the Italian Republic to provide assistance in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The representative of FSBI “National Medical Research Phthisiopulmonology and Infectious Diseases Center” of the Russian Ministry of Health was included in the WHO mission dispatched on May 1st, 2020 with a visit to Tajikistan to provide practical assistance in developing recommendations for fighting the spread of new coronavirus infection, diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Specialists evaluated the situation of the spread of new coronavirus infection in the Republic of Tajikistan and assisted in developing national recommendations for fighting with the COVID-19 which included improving the epidemiological inspection, treatment of critically ill patients, preventing and controlling the spread of infection in medical organizations and strengthening coordinating interdepartmental mechanisms.

From July 1 to July 4, 2020 four specialists of A.N. Bakulev National Medical Research Center of Cardiovascular Surgery of the Russian Ministry of Health headed by the acting director of the center, academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences E.Z. Golukhova worked in the Kyrgyz Republic to evaluate the situation and provide advisory and methodological assistance on reprofiling the bedspace in the context of the spread of new coronavirus infection. Specialists of the Russian Ministry of Health visited six large clinics in Bishkek with overall bedspace of about 550-600 beds (COVID-19 + «community acquired pneumonia»). During the visit practical issues of managing patients were discussed and recommendations were given for organizing medical assistance to patients with suspected/having coronavirus infection, safe work of the personnel, compliance with the epidemiological regime and approaches to the treatment of patients of various degrees of severity.

In accordance with the instruction of the Government of the Russian Federation from July 16, 2020 № ТГ-П2-7759кв 42 medical specialists of Bashkortostan headed by the Deputy Minister of Health of the Republic of Bashkortostan E.V. Kustov were delivered on July 23, 2020 to Kyrgyzstan to provide advisory, methodological and practical assistance in treating patients with new coronavirus infection.

On July 6, 2020 a team of 32 medical specialists headed by the Deputy Minister of Health of the Russian Federation O.V. Gridnev was sent to the Republic of Kazakhstan to assist in treatment of coronavirus infection, including anesthesiologists-resuscitators, infection disease doctors, pulmonologists, epidemiologists from Moscow region, including Khimki, Odintsovo, Stupino, Mytishchi and Taldom hospitals as well as doctors of National Medical Research Phthisiopulmonology and Infectious Diseases Center” of the Russian Ministry of Health. Russian doctors are working in healthcare centers of Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Chimkent and regions with a particularly complex epidemiological situation. On July 14, 2020 five medical specialists from Astrakhan region were dispatched to Atyrau region in Kazakhstan within the bilateral cooperation. As a result of the work 28 medical workers received the highest industry award of the Republic of Kazakhstan – the medal for Contribution to the development of the Healthcare System.

At the request of the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, on July 12, 2020 the Russian Ministry of Health sent a group of specialists of the I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State University to assist in providing medical assistance to the diseased with coronavirus infection. The team of medical workers consisted of 6 specialists, including pulmonologists, a rheumatologist and an epidemiologist. The group was headed by the head of the pulmonology department of Sechenov University, chief freelance pulmonologist of the Russian Ministry of Health S.N. Avdeev. Together with the specialists of Sechenov University 17 volunteer-doctors working in Russia, including medical institutions in Moscow, Odintsovo and Norilsk went to Azerbaijan. Russian doctors held consultations for medical workers of the Republic of Azerbaijan, helped in providing medical assistance in problematic regions, shared Russian experience and approaches to treating new coronavirus infection at the outpatient and hospital stages.

By the decree of the Russian Federation dated January 31, 2020 № 66 coronavirus infection (2019-nCov) was included to the List of diseases that pose a danger for a wider public. In this regard, in accordance with the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Belarus on the procedure of providing medical assistance to citizens of the Russian Federation in healthcare institutions of the Republic of Belarus and citizens of the Republic of Belarus in healthcare institutions of the Russian Federation from January 24, 2006 (hereinafter – the Agreement) citizens of Belarus permanently residing, temporarily staying and temporarily residing in the Russian Federation on an equal basis equally with citizens of the Russian Federation are provided with free emergency medical aid and medical aid in case of detection of new coronavirus infection.

In accordance with the note of the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus dated April 6, 2020 on the principle of mutuality and in accordance with the Agreement, an agreement was reached on the provision of free medical care to the employees of the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus and diplomatic representation in the Russian Federation and employees of the Embassy of the Russian Federation and diplomatic representation in the Republic of Belarus.

By order of the Minister of Health in Russia M.A. Murashko in the Republic of Abkhazia to evaluate the provision of medical care to patients with COVID-19 in early August, a group of specialists from the department began work. Assistant to the Minister in charge of the organization of providing medical care for the population O.I. Guseva and the head of the Department for Organization of Emergency Medical Aid and Health Risk Management of the Russian Ministry of Health I.B. Kulikova together with the Deputy Minister of Health of Krasnodar region I.N. Vyazovskaya visited the main hospital for patients with new coronavirus infection in the city of Gudauta, got familiarized with the routing of patients, made rounds in the “red” zone, assessed the stock of personal protective equipment and medicines.

In early August, 2020, Russian engineers proceeded with assembling and setting up a computer tomograph. In Sukhum the representatives of the Russian Ministry of Health inspected the operation of the ambulance substation, the vehicles of which are designed to evacuate infected by COVID-19 and familiarized with the organization of the work of the children’s clinic.

Conclusion

In conclusion it is worth noting that Russian Federation is committed to strengthening the WHO as a leader of international healthcare cooperation, emphasizing its critical role in coordinating multilateral approaches to fight COVID-19. The Russian Ministry of Health together with interested executive authorities support the work of the WHO that is conducted on the basis of available scientific data and in strict accordance with goals of the member-countries. Russian Federation has allocated $1 million to discharge a non-recurring target contribution aiming to support the WHO’s efforts to fight COVID-19.

Minister of Health of the Russian Federation M.A. Murashko regularly takes part in the WHO videoconferences on COVID-19 at the regional (WHO European regional bureau, Copenhagen) and global (WHO Headquarters, Geneva) levels, within which informs the WHO and countries of the world about the efforts made by the Russian Federation in the field of detection, treatment and prevention of new coronavirus infection among various population groups, development and registration of Russian pharmaceuticals for treating COVID-19, vaccines and test-systems as well as the experience of staged tapering of restrictions. For its part, the WHO has repeatedly given a constructive assessment of the response measures to fight COVID-19 taken by the Russian Federation at the national level.

 International cooperation in the exchange of the world best practices is an integral part of the effective fight against the spread of new coronavirus infection. Analysis of the best practices on fighting the pandemic allows Russian specialists together with foreign colleagues to use modern working methods, that have proven its effectiveness.

References

  1. https://minzdrav.gov.ru/ministry/med_covid19;
  2. The portal of continuous medical and pharmaceutical education of the Russian Ministry of Health edu.rosminzdrav.ru;
  3. The Decree of the Russian Federation dated January 31, 2020 “On amending the List of diseases that pose a danger for a wider public”.