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International cooperation
Public Health

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Management of Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis at Riga East Clinical University Hospital. Although a lot has been done to combat tuberculosis to date, the disease remains an important health problem in many countries and WHO data shows that tuberculosis mortality rates in Europe remain high.

Medical professionals from Latvia and abroad met at a special event to share their experience on the work they have done and to discuss future plans. Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) was represented at this event by Prof. Inga Millere, Dean of the Faculty of Public Health and Social Welfare, and Prof. Gunta Lazdāne, Director of the Institute of Public Health.

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The Dean of the Faculty of Public Health and Social Welfare Prof. Inga Millere (front row, first from the right) and the Director of the Institute of Public Health, Prof. Gunta Lazdāne (front row, second from the right)

The anniversary event was attended by representatives of WHO like Malgorzata Grzemska, European Coordinator of the WHO Global Tuberculosis Program, as well as Askar Yeldilbayev, Head of the Tuberculosis Unit of the Division of Health Emergencies and Communicable Diseases, Lee Reichman, a representative from the Global Tuberculosis Institute, Ernesto Jaramillo, a representative of the European Regional Office, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Health of Latvia and other guests.

The WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Management of Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis provides modern high-quality and evidence-based training of healthcare professionals taking into account the most recent scientific achievements and WHO guidelines. Over the past 15 years, the centre has organised training for health professionals on both a local and international level. The centre is managed by physicians Līga Kukša and Vaira Leimane.

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Līga Kukša, Head of the WHO Collaborating Centre and a pulmonologist at the Riga East Clinical University Hospital and Assistant at the RSU Department of Infectology and Dermatology

Two WHO collaborating centres are currently operating in Latvia. This spring, the WHO Cooperating Centre for Professional Healthcare Education within the Faculty of Public Health and Social Welfare (FPHSW) of RSU joined the Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Management of Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis. This will open up the opportunity for RSU lecturers to share their knowledge and experience on an international level, as well as develop research by getting involved in different projects conducted in 53 European region countries. Like its "elder brother", the RSU centre plans to help to upgrade its study programmes following WHO recommendations.

The co-operation between RSU and WHO commenced during Latvia's Presidency of the EU Council when FPHSW (which was then the Faculty of Nursing) organised several events dedicated to healthcare and nursing in co-operation with the Ministry of Health. To continue the co-operation, the FPHSW was involved in other events organised by WHO, for instance a WHO subregion discussion on higher education in nursing including Central Asia and Kazakhstan, which took place in Astana and elsewhere.

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