The Emergency Preparedness Rapid Response team travelled to Ethiopia last month, with the purpose of re-engaging with partners at both the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) and Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC),  following a 2-year period of no in-country deployments due to COVID-19. 

The trip coincided with an invitation to join a validation workshop designed to review and endorse the EPHI Public Health Emergency Operations Centres (PHEOC) Handbook, which the EPRR team had contributed to the development of. This handbook and accompanying training materials will form a standardised approach to emergency response across EPHI’s national and sub-national PHEOC’s. The workshop was attended by national and sub-national PHEOC representatives, WHO, Africa CDC and by EPHI Deputy DG, Dr Aschalew Abayneh who advocated for the Handbook and Training Materials. The workshop was a success, with the PHEOC Handbook reviewed ready for sign off as well as several chapters of the PHEOC training manual. Further review and finalisation of the training manual took place in the two weeks following with UKHSA EPRR team input to this process.

The team also met with Africa CDC partners to discuss various collaborative workstreams, which included the PHEOC Network 5-year Strategy Member States consultation workshop which both teams facilitated virtually, advancement of PHEOC e-learning modules and support of future SimEx training.

The trip was a valuable opportunity for the EPRR team to re-engage with colleagues from both organisations, following a 2-year period of largely virtual support. Dr Merawi Aragaw, the Africa CDC EPR lead, noted his appreciation of the support, both in relation to the PHEOC Partner Network and remote training support.

The EPRR team continue to support with the advancement of the EPHI PHEOC training materials remotely and discuss opportunities for further collaborations, training and technical support with both Ethiopian based partners.

By Liz McGinley