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ACoDD Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Training, Kabarole

The African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) held the first ever regional training for Epidemiology and Surveillance Officers in Kabarole District, Uganda. 

The AFENET Corps of Disease Detectives (ACoDD) training aimed at equipping ACoDD members for field deployment, strengthening participant’s knowledge and skills on relevant EVD technical areas, and preparing ACoDD members to support the national and district task forces in case of an EVD in Uganda explained Dr Ben Masiira, the ACoDD Team lead, AFENET.

“Despite the knowledge on surveillance, we need Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and drugs as a surveillance advocate, I would like the training to answer the question on the lack of PPEs at National and Regional level despite the looming Ebola Outbreak in DRC. I would like to hear the next steps from the Ministry of Health (MOH) in terms of provision of PPEs.” Gloria Nsereko, Makerere School of Public Health (MAKSPH).

“As a facilitator, I view the Ebola Virus Training (EVD) training as a refresher on surveillance, and what one needs to know how to  support an EVD outbreak to boost the response to Ebola  in the East African Region”, Dr Christine Kihembo, Epidemiologist AFENET.

In his remarks, and on behalf of Dr Chima Ohuabunwo, Executive Director AFENET – Dr Simon Antara – Director Programs, explained that the discoveries of penicillin 1928, fronted the production of many antibiotics and vaccines. These interventions greatly mitigated fatal challenges posed by infectious diseases. 

Indeed it was envisaged that infectious diseases were going to be defeated through the use of antibiotics, vaccines and quarantine measures. The combination of these measures was expected to deal a lethal blow to infectious diseases. Unfortunately, this hope was soon dashed as antimicrobial resistance emerged. 

The spread of Ebola Virus Disease during the outbreak in 2014 and 2015, from Guinea in West Africa beyond national and continental boundaries clarified the need to enhance our health and surveillance systems. The outbreak was gravitated by limited resources including low human resource capacity, limited capacity in field epidemiology, non-coordination and non-complementarity of response efforts. Today, our world faces various public health threats from infectious and non-infectious sources and from new and re-emerging conditions.  

The threats we face today are numerous and their complexity is profoundly daunting.

To succeed we must collaborate and ensure complementarity and synergy of our efforts as organizations and as nations. It is only in our joint effort that we can succeed. 

“As AFENET we are profoundly grateful to the Ministries of Health of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, WHO, CDC and the other institutions that are collaborating with us to have this training. Dealing with public health challenges is daunting but the marshalling of our varied and unique strengths is our sure guarantee for success. Let us keep working together”. Says Dr Antara.

The training which began on 1 April 2019 will be held for 6 days ending on 6 April 2019.