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Armenian - German exchange program – A feedback from the participants

Within German-Armenian cooperation program coordinated by TBnet, eight stipends have been granted for one-month training in German hospitals to young Armenian healthcare experts. In this text, the participants of the exchange program share their experience of visiting German hospitals and provide a short feedback to the TBnet on the program.

During autumn 2017, doctors Mher Davidyants, Sevan Iritsyan, Ohanna Kirakosyan, Eduard Kabasakalyan, Ofelya Petrosyan, Izabella Oganezova, Stella Sargsyan and Nonna Yeghoyan were trained at the University of Freiburg, University Hospital Saarland, Research Center Borstel, Asklepios Medical Centre Munich and University Hospital Bochum.

During the observership Armenian experts studied laboratory routines and techniques such as: samples registration, culture, DST, QuantiFERON test, ELISpot, Specific T Cell response, FACS, methods for drug susceptibility testing of M. tuberculosis, preparation of BAL and cell suspensions for microscopy, collection of PBMC, biomarkers analysis, Aspergillus-specific IG assay, Treatment Drug Monitoring, novel Fluorotype MTBDR technique, DNA isolation and purification, DNA sequencing, Laboratory Quality Management System Training. Trainees also participated in ward rounds, radiological meetings and scientific congresses, observed port-a-cath insertion and removal, bronchoscopy and gastroscopy.

Among most important things Armenian experts learned during the observership they named: networking, TB and NTM patient care including complicated cases, differential diagnosis of pulmonary diseases, German travel medicine system, laboratory quality management, specific T cell response, genome sequencing techniques.

After the observership, Armenian experts expressed their willingness to establish international mentoring program and to introduce the clinical research into the National Tuberculosis Control Programs, to join and/or start international research projects/ studies in cooperation with TBNET and extend the network across the developing countries. Trainees noted they would like to organize clinical trials in Armenia and promote longer exchange visits of international experts to Armenia. Trainees suggested opening a discussion panel for complicated cases on the TBNET website and to involve more basic science researchers in TB studies.

TBNET has a strong capacity to build bridges, share information and make changes. Armenian experts recommended distributing TBNET Newsletter to the key TBNET partners; with believe that joint efforts can make a change in the world of TB.

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