Epidemic Preparedness and Response (EPR) is important because it ensures that communities and other key stakeholders in the health sector are fully prepared to effectively respond to any communicable disease threat. To meet this overarching objective, ACFODE in partnership with the Ministry of Health organized Joint Sensitization Meetings for Village Health Team (VHTs) members and Health Workers in Kisoro and Ntoroko districts.
The meetings, which took place from the 23rd to the 27th of March 2015 aimed at strengthening disease surveillance for early case detection and harmonization of the preparedness and response for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (VHFs) in accordance with the established World Health Organization (WHO) road map and other guidelines for the participants.
Sensitisation session in Kisoro District
The week long meetings attracted 217 VHTs and 79 Health workers from Kisoro and Ntoroko districts.
In Kisoro, the meetings were opened by Assistant CAO Mr. Mr. Kalemera Alfred, who gave supportive remarks to the joint strategy. Further, he thanked the VHTs for their charitable work, equating them to Jesus and his disciples who voluntarily spread the gospel that preoccupies ancient and contemporary belief systems. He commended the cooperation between the health workers and the VHTs which would serve as the best opportunity to prevent or detect epidemics and reduce there severe impact on community members.
Mr. Isaac Sugar-Ray, a Public Health & Communication Specialist with the Ministry of Health guides action planninig for VHTs in Ntoroko. Some of their activites involve sensitizing local communities on EPR.
A number of presentations were made and they covered topical issues to do with:
- Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (VHFs), where a number of issues including history of VHFs, predisposing factors, and signs and symptoms were discussed, and;
- Epidemic Response and Preparedness Planning. This presentation generally focused on the importance of establishing surveillance systems which include plans, teams, tools, supplies and data management processes.
By the end of the day, participants had evaluated their levels of preparedness, identified potential gaps vulnerabilities, and had their capacities strengthened.
Health workers in Ntoroko developing their action plan. Among other things they pledged to conduct continuous medical education (CMEs ) in local communities and refresher training course(s) for VHTs
RARE Project Coordinator