WHO European Director to visit Turkmenistan

Turkmen human rights organizations sent an open letter to the Director of the WHO European Office, Hans Kluge, and called on to comment on the epidemiological situation in Turkmenistan, as well as to get the authorities of Turkmenistan to transfer biological materials from patients with COVID-19 symptoms to WHO for independent research.

The appeal remained unanswered, but on October 7, Kluge announced on his official Twitter account that he would visit Turkmenistan.

“On the way to Turkmenistan, together with the ministers of health and experts from the Region to participate in the Forum on Medical Diplomacy. This is an opportunity to discuss cooperation with the leadership of Turkmenistan on pandemic preparedness and control.

At a cabinet meeting on October 1, Deputy Prime Minister for Science and Education, Healthcare and Sports Sapardurdy Toylyev reported to the President on preparations for the international forum of medical scientists "Medical Diplomacy - the basis of a healthy world" in honor of the Day of Healthcare Workers and the Medical Industry (celebrated in Turkmenistan on 10 October).

The official also said that on the eve of the holiday it is planned to take part by video link in an international conference in honor of the "World Palliative Health Day", which will be organized by WHO.

The WHO mission, which spent 10 days in Turkmenistan, from July 5 to 15, 2020, at its final conference did not recognize, but did not deny the presence of coronavirus in the country. Their main recommendation to the government of Turkmenistan was the phrase "behave as if the coronavirus is already in the country."

In August 2020, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov allowed WHO, concerned about the increase in the number of pneumonia cases in the absence of COVID-19, to conduct independent tests directly in Turkmenistan, as well as to collect tests for study in WHO's own laboratories. However, the mission never made it to the country a second time.

At a press conference in January 2021, the head of the WHO European Office, when asked by journalists when the visit to Turkmenistan will take place, replied that “unfortunately, until today there has been no progress in this direction”. “But I want to assure you that we are continuing an open dialogue with the government of Turkmenistan through the organization's country office to implement these recommendations,” added Hans Kluge.

Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan