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Ethiopia leads the way with successful AVoHC SURGE training Program

Ethiopia leads the way with successful AVoHC SURGE training Program

KENYA—The World Health Organization (WHO) in Ethiopia has reported the successful completion of the second cohort of the African Health Volunteers Corps (AVoHC) SURGE training.

This announcement was conveyed in the presence of Dr. Mesay Hailu, Director General of the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), Dr. Melkamu Abte, Deputy Director General of EPHI, Commander Dr. Abrham Tefera, Head of the Federal Police Commission’s Health Main Department, and Dr. Patrick Abok, WHO Emergency Preparedness and Response Lead.

This follows the completion of the second cohort of Ethiopian National AVoHC SURGE responders face-to-face onboarding training of multi-disciplinary experts, which was officially inaugurated on November 6, 2023, in the Hawassa Hotel.

The African Union established AVoHC as a network of African medical and public health experts, aiming to assist in responding to public health emergencies on the continent.

AVoHC plays a crucial role in facilitating the rapid deployment of experts from African Union Member States. This includes professionals such as epidemiologists, laboratory scientists, communications experts, logisticians, data managers, physicians, and social scientists.

 The coordination of deployments is managed by the Africa CDC Emergency Operations Center, with AVoHC members receiving specialized training and working in collaboration with the country’s existing emergency response infrastructure.

This collaborative effort involves support from the Africa CDC Regional Collaborating Centers.

The AVoHC initiative was established by the African Union Heads of State and Government during their 25th Ordinary Session in Johannesburg, South Africa, in June 2015.

This response was initiated in the aftermath of the 2014/2015 Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, where African Union Member States provided more than 800 doctors, nurses, paramedics, social scientists, and other experts.

The second cohort training, held from November 6th to December 8th, 2023, with 92 participants, 22 of whom were female, holds significance in enhancing the emergency preparedness and response capacities of the country.

This effort aligns with the broader Emergency Preparedness and Response initiative, which aims to equip every African country with the knowledge and capabilities required to respond to public health emergencies within 24 to 48 hours.

Dr. Hailu, addressing the participants during the training, emphasized the AVoHC SURGE program’s purpose in developing in-country teams capable of quick deployment with technical competence during emergencies.

The dedication of the second cohort of trainees to enhancing their capacity to address public health crises demonstrates their commitment.

The training program focused on imparting key skills in basic emergency response functions, including epidemiology, surveillance, case management, and logistical coordination, among others.

Designed to turn knowledge into action, the program provides participants with the opportunity to become change agents in their communities.

Ethiopia’s commitment to improving emergency preparedness and response capacities is evident in the successful completion of the 2nd cohort of the AVoHC SURGE program.

The first batch of trainees has already been deployed throughout the country for public health emergency responses, showcasing success. Some first cohort trainees served as in-country facilitators during the second cohort training, laying the groundwork for future progress.

Dr. Abte highlighted the broader significance of the AVoHC SURGE training program, emphasizing its role in increasing the ability of all member states to prepare for, identify, and respond to public health emergencies.

Ethiopia’s exemplary dedication is evident in training and certifying 190 specialists in two cohorts, entirely funded by internal resources.

Commander Dr. Tefera stressed the importance of such training in boosting emergency response capabilities and preserving community health.

The second batch of trainees included participants from the Ministries of Health and Agriculture, as well as the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Ethiopian Pharmaceuticals Supply Agency, Federal Hospitals, Federal Police, and Ethiopian Disaster Risk Management Commission.

Dr. Abok, on behalf of Dr. Nonhlanhla Dlamini, WHO’s Representative a.i., congratulated the second cohort on their hard work and devotion.

The second cohort represents an upgraded version, incorporating insights from a thorough post-first cohort training review.

Lessons learned from what worked and what didn’t were recognized and implemented to improve the cohort’s preparation and packaging.

With post-training reviews accompanying each subsequent cohort, the commitment to continual development is clear.

The completion of the training program underscores Ethiopia’s dedication to public health.

The Ethiopian 3rd Cohort of AVoHC SURGE training is currently underway, with funds for implementation secured thanks to partners and funders such as the Pandemic Fund.

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