7th June 2017, Monrovia : The National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), in collaboration with the Epidemic Preparedness and Response (EPR) Consortium and the World Health Organization (WHO), has been working to strengthen Liberia’s emergency response capacity to epidemic prone diseases. This objective is in line with the National Investment Plan 2015, to build a resilient health system through epidemic preparedness.
This process started in 2016 with the introduction of Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) established in all 15 counties and 91 districts, training almost 800 health care workers country-wide. Additionally, a national RRT was also established to provide support to counties during large public health events. On 29th May 2017, 25 participants from National level underwent RRT training that was divided into two parts: an orientation and two-day real-time simulation. The simulation involved mock patients presenting at various health facilities in Montserrado County, testing the entire response system: from health facility to county notification to activation and deactivation of national response team. Moreover, this national level simulation ended with a walkthrough at the newly established Redemption Hospital 9-bedded Integrated Severely Infectious Treatment Unit (InSitu); Liberia’s first official isolation facility. This unique type of exercise allows a “field testing” of response capacities and provides very valuable feedback for current Epidemic Preparedness and Respond plans.
Key findings during the simulation:
The participants were familiar with some but not many of the outbreak response processes. Key gaps identified included: information management via the different response levels, lack of familiarization of forms needed to be completed during an alert case, infection prevention and control measures (especially doffing), correct referral pathways, suspect case definitions and clinical management.
1. Disseminate viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) standard operating procedures compendium to the National Response Team
2. Regular simulations at RH InSitu to reinforce response capacity and maintain essential skills (e.g. donning/doffing)
3. Specific epidemic prone disease case management training
For more information, please contact:
Technical : Dr. April Baller, Mobile: +231 (0) 776281126, Email : ballera [at] who.int
Communications: Vachel Harris Lake (Mrs.), Mobile : +231(0)776532008, Email : lakev [at] who.int
Photo 1 : Healthcare workers screens an actor patient during the simulation exercise , Slipway Clinic, Monrovia, May 30, 2017
Photo 2: An ambulance crew member moves the actor patient to the ambulance during simulation at Slipway Clinic, Monrovia, May 30, 2017
Photo 3 : WHO Staff provides guidance on required actions by Healthcare Workers during the simulation at Slipway Clinic, Monrovia, May 30, 2017