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DRC formulates SOPs for provincial rapid response teams, starting with Central Kongo

The health situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remains a concern hence the need for better public health emergency response and management. Faced with a multitude of epidemics, emergencies, and disasters, there is need for clear outbreak response procedures.

With a view to setting up Rapid Response Teams (RRT) at the level of each province, AFENET, with support from the US CDC and the Ministry of Public Health, Hygiene and Prevention held a workshop for the adaptation of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of the provincial RRT of the Central Kongo Region. The intensive 5-day workshop from 9 – 13 May 2022 was facilitated by three CDC staff from Atlanta, Georgia, one expert from Jhpiego, and two technical staff from AFENET.

The key themes addressed during the workshop included the goals and objectives of RRT management, staffing and enrollment considerations, RRT administrative, training management, activation and pre-deployment management, deployment management, post-deployment management, monitoring, and evaluation and improvement planning management.

The team formulated the materials used in the management of the health response teams to better manage incidents at the provincial level. These SOPs are a set of instructions and guidelines describing actions to be taken by different members of the RRT team. Though standard national SOPs exist, there was a need to adapt them to the provincial levels to better suit the unique needs at these levels.

The training held in Kongo Central Province, aimed at developing a roadmap for validation and dissemination of the SOPs to other provinces involved in the management of the public health emergencies.

Aside from the experts from the Ministry of Public Health, CDC Atlanta, Jhpiego, and AFENET, the participants comprised of a health information analyst, data manager - epidemiological surveillance, data Manager - provincial laboratory, health Zones in charge, statistics analyst, and an assistant analyst in charge of epidemiological surveillance, as well as six executives from Central Kongo and a WHO consultant.

The team developed a roadmap for the validation and dissemination of the SOPs to provincial actors involved in health emergency management. Follow-up workshops will be held to adapt the SOPS of the Kinshasa Provincial Rapid Response Team from June 01 - 05, 2022, and later for the Bukavu Provincial Rapid Response Team from June 17 - 21, 2022.