In the framework of the European Union's CBRN Centers of Excellence Initiative (EU CBRN CoE), Project 53 (P53) is supporting the Government of Afghanistan and it´s Ministry of Public Health with an ambitious program designed to institutionalize Bio-safety and Bio-security programs in Afghanistan and improve capacity of Afghan scientists from Central Public Health Laboratories (CPHL), Central Veterinary Research Laboratory (CVDRL) and Afghanistan Atomic Energy High Commission (AAEHC).
Additionally, the Afghanistan National Public Health Institute (ANPHI) and Project 53 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which includes support for the rehabilitation and equipment of its training centre in Kabul. ANPHI is the academic and intellectual body of Ministry of Public Health. The MoU includes other activities as well, such as; the assessment and revision of the national legislations and harmonization with the appropriate international rules, organization of national and regional awareness-raising events, cataloguing the existing regional training capabilities, resources and facilities dealing with bio-hazardous materials, training of trainers activities introducing a "security culture", training of technical, scientific and other professionals involved in bio-security and bio-safety and strengthening and formalizing regional cooperation and the integration of the training programs within the already existing national and educational programs, notably at the level of universities.
Necessary supplies and equipment provided under P53 will be used for several training workshop at the CPHL and the ANPHI renovated training center. CPHL, which is the top of the pyramid of laboratory network in Afghanistan, will perform training courses in Bio-safety and Bio-security, including molecular diagnostics, for central, regional, provincial and district level laboratories as well to CVDRL and AAEHC. The existing national laboratory network and other public health programs under ANPHI will get maximum benefit from this investment which will have a positive impact on Biorisk management as well public health programs.
The project was conceived and funded within the framework of the EU CBRN CoE (www.cbrn-coe.eu) initiative. The CoE currently covers 8 regions and 59 partner countries. The EU CBRN CoE Secretariat for Central Asia is based in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. It works in partnership with countries to encourage local ownership of CBRN action plans, policies and joint preparation of regional project proposals.
The ISTC, implementer of P53, has funded and managed several hundred projects in Central Asia over the past 20 years. Expertise to implement P53 is provided by a UK-led consortium of international legislative experts (SCJS, VERTIC), and bio-safety and bio-security training experts (PHE, RIVM).