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A novel approach to pandemic preparedness, biosecurity, and disease surveillance

Launched in June 2016, our BMJ Clinical Decision Support (CDS) Training Initiative helped strengthen health systems and improve the detection, diagnosis, and management of infectious diseases at the frontline.

  • 7 countries: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine launched in 2016, Vietnam, Iraq and Jordan launched in 2017 and Kazakhstan in 2018

  • 38% average improvement in BMJ Learning pre-test vs post-test scores, with average scores rising from 51% to 89%

  • 673,612 BMJ Best Practice topic views, including 60,791 on infectious diseases

  • 18,000 clinicians in 1,002 institutions

  • 95% say our resources helped them improve patient care

  • 50% of countries have sustainment deals in place

“As medicine progresses, continuous professional development is essential for all clinicians. I often refer to BMJ Best Practice and BMJ Learning for the new evidence-based information they provide to improve my daily practice. I use them to analyse new clinical cases and situations.”
Dr Aysel Aslanova (Ismayilova), Azerbaijan

Improved diagnosis and management of infectious diseases

In May 2018, a large number of patients with gastroenteritis arrived at the Abu-Al-Khaseeb Hospital in Basra, Iraq. Dr. Nasser Ghaly Yousif and Dr. Mohammed Hassan Younise used our resources to help guide them and curb a public health threat.

We took everything we learned from the infectious diseases learning modules and put it to use during this outbreak. We also referred to BMJ Best Practice which guided us through our decision making process.”

There is a sizeable anti-vaccination lobby in Ukraine and it can be difficult for patients to find trustworthy information. Dr Linnikov Svyatoslav used our resources to educate patients and increase vaccination rates.

If the information was put forward by a pharmaceutical company, then people may be more hesitant to believe it. But because the research is from BMJ, people trust it.”

Maintaining high professional standards and supporting quality improvement

Dr Bui Minh Khoi from Thuy Nguyen District Hospital in Hai Phong, uses our resources to help him keep up with evidence-based medicine and continue learning as a medical doctor.

Evidence-based medicine is very important. In the hospital, I usez BMJ Best Practice to find instant answers on how to correctly diagnose or treat the patient. When I come home, I read the full text to understand more about the disease.”

Health professionals also used our resources to undertake quality improvement projects at their institutions. The abstracts to four studies authored by clinicians in Georgia and two in Azerbaijan were accepted at the BMJ International Forums on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Melbourne in 2018 and Glasgow 2019.

Our advocacy and expertise helped to strengthen national continuing professional development systems


An award winning initiative

In 2018, the Initiative won the Geneva Centre for Security Policy’s (GCSP) Prize for Innovation in Global Security, surpassing 156 applications from 58 countries across five continents. We donated the prize money to the Biosurveillance Network of the Silk Road (BNSR), which facilitated knowledge sharing and collaboration across the Caucasus and Central Asia region.

Contributing to the international evidence base

  • 14 papers accepted in 8 academic journals related to infectious diseases, clinical decision support, e-learning and continuing professional development (CPD)
  • 12 conferences in 9 countries including the Annual Biosurveillance Network of the Silk Road meeting in Ukraine, 2017, WHO Global Conference on Primary Healthcare in Kazakhstan, 2018, Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), United Nations, Geneva, 2019
  • 6 white papers related to the Initiative. The white papers were instrumental in the process of getting ministerial support for the Initiative and in setting up a system of CPD.


Funding for sustainment is in place in three countries: Georgia, Jordan and Ukraine. The programme in Kazakhstan launched in 2018.

We continue to work with stakeholders in Azerbaijan, Iraq and Vietnam to source funding.


Clinical Decision Support Training Initiative country reports

For in depth information on the CDS Training Initiative, request a copy of our country reports, which are available for Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Jordan, Ukraine and Vietnam.


Request a copy







To partner with us on pandemic preparedness or other global health programmes contact:

Ashley McKimm
Director of Partnership Development