Industry

Frontline workers trained to prepare for health threats

Summary

Twenty-nine health workers, including nurses, medical doctors and environmental health officials, graduated from a frontline course in Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training on Thursday.Officials from different institutions including the Ministry o…

Twenty-nine health workers, including nurses, medical doctors and environmental health officials, graduated from a frontline course in Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training on Thursday.

Officials from different institutions including the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Agriculture, and Namibian Institute of Pathology, underwent the three months of training aimed at strengthening public health interventions such as disease surveillance and outbreak investigations and responses, including data management focusing on data quality audits.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Utjiua Muinjangue said the knowledge and skills offered in the training are needed now more than ever, as Namibia continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and other emerging and re-emerging disease outbreaks.

She said threats of Monkeypox globally, Poliomyelitis in Southern Africa, and the recent measles outbreak in the Omusati Region and in Zimbabwe, where it has claimed more than 600 lives thus far, are a clear indication that Namibia needs to be prepared at all times.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the importance of having well equipped disease detectives on the ground, especially at local level. Disease detectives are the catalyst of the impacts any disease outbreak can pose, being effects on the health system, or socio-economic,” she said.

The training programme, which was initiated in 2012, is supported by the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) Namibia and has so far capacitated about 218 officials in Namibia.

CDC Country Director Dr Brian Baker said the course has helped the officials to be first responders and to know how to react when there is a disease outbreak and to always be on the lookout for disease outbreaks.

He encouraged them to look for further opportunities in addition to the training and to participate in activities that will enhance their skills and enable them to effectively contribute to preparedness and responses to disease outbreaks in Namibia and abroad.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative, Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses, said it is evident that the training has played a central role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health emergencies in Namibia.

He said the graduation comes at the right time as Namibia, with support from the WHO, is in the initial stages of rolling out the Emergency Preparedness and Response flagship initiative that aims to strengthen the country’s capacity to prepare for, detect and respond to emergencies with public health consequence.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency