DR Congo’s health ministry has conducted the 13th frontline field epidemiology training to build the capacity of managers and staff in sectors of public health, hygiene and prevention; fisheries and livestock; and environment to identify and respond rapidly to the emergence of potential epidemic diseases.
The training which ran in Goma from 2 - 6 March 2022 was made possible with technical support from the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) and funding from the US Centers for Disease Control under the auspices of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA).
The training workshop assessed daily reports and undertook practical exercises and case studies following each thematic group, as well as the fieldwork instructions.
Participants underwent pre and post-tests which attained median score of 50% (with a minimum score of 3 and a maximum of 11) and 12 or 86% (with a minimum score of 10 and a maximum of 14), respectively. Figure 2 below shows improvement in participants' knowledge
Changes in scores of cohort 13 participants in the pre-test and post-test at FETP Workshop 1 in Goma from March 2 to 6, 2022
The results of the pre- and post-tests, the resolutions of the exercises and the plenary discussions implied that the modules taught were well assimilated by the participants.
The practical aspects of the subjects taught will be implemented in the field by the participants in their respective Health Zones under the supervision of their mentors. The latter will have to produce two reports, one on data quality control and the other on the analysis of the epidemiological surveillance data of the 6 weeks (3 retrospective weeks and 3 prospective weeks).
Feedback from participants' fieldwork 1 will be effective at Workshop 2 to be held in Week 3 (April 11-15, 2022).
In October 2020, AFENET was awarded a 5-year grant by the US CDC to strengthen global health security capacities in the DR Congo which is a hotspot for public health emergencies. This project is implanted within the framework of the GHSA. The aim of GHSA is to accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats, to promote global health security as an international priority and to spur progress toward full implementation of the WHO international health regulations (IHR 2005). Achieving these priorities requires countries to effectively improve prevention, detection and response capabilities for infectious disease outbreaks that can cause public health emergencies.
The objective of the project is to support DRC to strengthen its public health workforce through strengthening the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) and to strengthen border health for early detection and response to public health emergencies.
By the end of the 3-month training that was launched in Goma, participants would have been trained and mentored on disease surveillance, case detection, data analysis, Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and other public health emergency response, risk communication and coordination of public health emergency response.