WHO/Europe has been collecting and sharing best practices in contact tracing from countries of the WHO European Region and documenting a variety of approaches to develop case studies and to contribute to future guidelines and recommendations.
Dr Richard Pebody, who leads the High-threat Pathogen team at WHO/Europe, commented: “…Contact tracing is an effective public health measure for combatting COVID-19, but experience has highlighted that it can be challenging for countries to establish a well functioning contact-tracing mechanism that can cope when there is widespread community transmission. We have commonly seen small teams of contact tracers having to deal with large numbers of COVID-19 cases and contacts.”
According to WHO, contact tracing has never been conducted at such a scale as during the COVID-19 pandemic. When systematically applied, contact tracing can help to break chains of transmission of infection and be a tool for keeping societies open.
But establishing comprehensive contact-tracing systems can be complex and resource-intensive.
One of the initial case studies was conducted by WHO in Kyrgyzstan and it involved interviews with key personnel undertaking contact tracing at national, regional and local levels, as well as with WHO focal points.
In Kyrgyzstan, contact tracing has been one of the key strategies employed by national health authorities to interrupt chains of transmission and reduce morbidity and mortality, as recommended by WHO.
Their contact-tracing infrastructure for COVID-19 was built on existing public health experience and expertise, although as case numbers rose rapidly, there was a need to train additional personnel to expand the contact-tracing workforce and scale up operations.
Additional case studies on contact tracing are planned with other countries, – reports WHO/Europe.
Picture: Kabar, Kyrgyzstan at https://kabar.kg/news/v-kyrgyzstane-povsemestno-razvernuty-call-center-po-protivodeistviiu-rasprostraneniia-covid-19/