Kampala, 7 December, 2017:- The World Health Organization (WHO) is supporting the Ministry of Health (MoH) National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and Epidemiology and Surveillance Division (ESD) to train regional District Rapid Response Teams (DRRT) in malaria epidemic preparedness, detection and response within the context of Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR). The exercise is based on the curriculum developed by WHO and adapted for country needs by the RRT training technical working group. The training started with Training of Trainers (TOT) and is intended to enhance the capacity and skills of multidisciplinary teams at the district level on early detection and effective response to public health events. Ultimately, the trainers will then cascade the training to selected regions.
The training was officially opened by the NMCP Program Manager, Dr Jimmy Opigo who recognized the exercise as a crucial step towards eliminating Malaria in Uganda. “With a one health approach, not only are we ridding the country of Malaria, but also other diseases of public health concern”, he added.
The WHO Malaria Technical Officer, Dr Fatunmbi Bayo commended the NMCP and ECD for working together to tackle Malaria. “Concerted effort is vital in public health and I am certain we shall make tremendous progress in tackling Malaria”, Dr Bayo told the participants.
To eliminate Malaria from Uganda, MoH and partners developed the Uganda Malaria Reduction Strategic Plan (UMRSP 2014 – 2020) which envisions a malaria-free Uganda by 2030. The UMRSP spells out plans to; reduce annual malaria deaths to near zero; reduce malaria morbidity to less than 30 cases per 1000 people, and reduce parasite prevalence to less than 7% by 2020.
To achieve the goals of the UMRSP 2014-2020, MoH earmarked the training of RRTs as an important facet. Regions prone to malaria epidemics were identified and from each region, seven districts were selected, and from each seven officers selected to be trained. These include District Health Officers, District Vector Control Officers, District Surveillance Officers, District Malaria Focal Persons, District Records Officers/Biostatisticians, District laboratory focal persons, District Health Education officer.
The training program will cover four tracks of the RRT curriculum including RRT in context, Epidemiology and Surveillance, Infection Prevention and Control, and Communication for community engagement.