Ministry of health hosts the third regional training of trainers’ workshop on Public Health Emergency Operations Centres (PHEOCS)

The Seychelles Ministry of Health is hosting a 3rd African Regional training of trainers’ workshop on Public Health Emergency Operations Centres (PHEOCs), at Savoy Resort Hotel in Seychelles from 2-14 May 2023 in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO), the Africa Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC), United States Center for Disease Control (US CDC), the West African Health Organization (WAHO), the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA), and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

This PHEOCs Training of Trainers Workshop is the 3rd in the African Region to ones that took place in Ethiopia and Kenya in 2019 and 2021 respectively. It is unique in that it will build on COVID-19 response experiences of countries in the Region and in Seychelles. Forty-two (42) participants from 27 countries and regional bodies across Africa are participating in this training. The main objective is to equip the trained trainers towards strengthening PHEOCs in their respective countries including through training of others at sub-national levels in incident and PHEOC management. The trained trainers are also expected to be part of the African Region pool of experts in health emergencies management as well as lead countries to conduct simulation exercises to test systems/competencies and intra as well as after-action reviews.

The Minister of Health, Mrs Peggy Vidot, accompanied by the Principal Secretary the Public Health Commissioner opened the workshop on the 2nd May at Savoy Resort Hotel in Seychelles. Participants for this meeting are from Seychelles, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, Congo, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Madagascar, Malawi Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Nigeria, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The Minister of Health asked participants to use this meeting to come up with concrete actions for further strengthening public health EOCs most of which were established to help in coordinating the COVID-19 response and follow-on health emergencies.

African Region countries continue to have a disproportionate high risk of public health emergencies from disease outbreaks, natural disasters and man-made calamities. In addition to COVID-19, the Region has recently had outbreaks of Ebola, Cholera, Maburg, Monkey Pox; natural disasters of flooding, cyclones and man-made calamities from armed conflicts among others. All these continue to underscore the need to maintain public health emergency operations centres (PHEOCs) that serve as hubs for coordinating response to public health emergencies. PHEOCs bring together multi-sector and multidisciplinary experts to coordinate emergency management efforts in a structured manner using the incident management system (IMS). Thereby enhancing collaboration, communication, and availability of real-time and quality information for evidence-based decision-making.

The Ministry of Health in Seychelles is working with the country, regional and headquarters offices of World Health Organization, and key partners to run this Training of Trainers workshop.