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Training Ghanaian frontline healthcare workers in public health surveillance and disease outbreak investigation and response

INTRODUCTION: Beyond initial formal academic education, the need for continuous professional development through in-service workforce capacity improvement programs that are aimed at enhancing knowledge and skills of public healthcare workers has assumed immense priority worldwide. This has been heightened by the on-going Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, which is exposing the weak public health systems in West Africa. In response to this need, the Ghana Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Program organized a short-course for frontline health workers in the Greater Accra region of Ghana in order to augment their surveillance and outbreak response capacity.

METHODS: Human and veterinary health workers were trained using Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program short course model. A two-week didactic course was conducted with a 10-week field placement. Evaluation of the course was done by assessment of participants' outputs during the training as well as pretest and posttest methods.

RESULTS: A total of 32 frontline health workers from both the human and veterinary health services benefited from the two-week initial training of the 12-week course. There was a significant gain in knowledge by the participants after the training course. Participants developed concept papers and implemented their fieldwork projects. Overall assessment of the workshop by the participants was very good.

CONCLUSION: Capacity of the health workers has been improved in the area of public health surveillance, outbreak investigation and response. We recommend a scale-up of this training course to other regions.

Bibliography: Ameme, D.K., Nyarko, K.M., Afari, E.A., Antara, S., Sackey, S.O., Wurapa, F. (2016). Training Ghanaian frontline healthcare workers in public health surveillance and disease outbreak investigation and response. The Pan African Medical Journal, 25(Supplement 1), 2.
Categories: Infection prevention and control measures Occupational health and safety
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