Read about the recent collaboration between the IHR EPRR team and NCDC colleagues, on epidemic and multi-hazard preparedness.

In July 2021, the IHR Strengthening Project’s Emergency Preparedness Resilience and Response (EPRR) Team responded to a request from colleagues at the Nigerian Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) and travelled to Nigeria to provide a workshop on the use of Simulation Exercises (SimEX) as a tool for strengthening epidemic preparedness, as part of a series of pre-conference workshops on the lead up to the Nigerian Conference of Applied and Field Epidemiology. This year the conference itself was virtual and attendance of workshops were much reduced, in line with COVID-19 restrictions, however, spirits were high and over 100 participants attended the workshop (90 virtually and 15 in person).

Simex’s are valuable tools which can be used to familiarise staff with new systems or equipment, identify gaps in planning, clarify roles and responsibilities and improve overall coordination, preparedness and resilience. This collaborative workshop focused on the overarching planning and delivery of a SimEx and reviewed how this concept was used in collaboration with NCDC over the past four years to deliver the Keep Pushing Exercises as a tool for public health emergency preparedness in Nigeria.

 IHR Project colleagues at the preconference workshop as part of the Nigerian Conference of Applied and Field Epidemiology

In an effort to make the most of the visit, the team also conducted a 2-day Table-Top Exercise (TTX) to validate and familiarise government agencies with the Nigeria National Public Health Multi-Hazard Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan. This plan was developed by NCDC, in collaboration with multi-sector partners, to strengthen emergency preparedness capacity at National, State, local government and community levels. 37 participants from across 17 government agencies were in attendance. A fictional scenario was used to  encourage discussion on topics ranging from One Health, rapid response teams, lab capacity, environmental contaminants, food security, poison events, conflict, natural disasters, community engagement and risk communication – these discussions helped attendees identify potential gaps in the plan and offer recommendations for its improvement. As well as review of the plan, the event also encouraged introductions and collaboration between the agencies present.

Both events were well received and continued the strong partnership between NCDC and the PHE IHR Team.

IHR Project colleagues and representatives from 17 agencies across the Nigerian Governement at the 2-day Table-Top Exercise in Abuja, Nigeria