WAHO RIPOST Project: Strengthening Public Health Institutions and Capacities in West Africa

Ouidah (Benin) – 23rd March 2018: The first edition of action learning on epidemiology intervention and community-based approach in emergency situations, took place from 26th February to 23rd March 2018, within the framework of the West African Health Organization (WAHO) “RIPOST” Project. About fifty participants from five of the project partner countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Niger) took part in this 4-weeks face-to-face residential session at the C.A. Quenum Regional Institute of Public Health (IRSP-CAQ) in Ouidah, Benin. This training of public health professionals is the first major deliverable of the first component of the “RIPOST” project.

“RIPOST” project promoted by WAHO has three components: (i) action learning of public health professionals in epidemiology intervention and community-based approach in emergency situations; (ii) action research mechanism aimed at strengthening social and community mobilization for prevention and epidemics control, and (iii) networking of actors under the coordination of WAHO.

This inter-state project with three coordinated components follows on lessons learnt from the recent Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa and other recurring epidemics. Thus “RIPOST” aims to (i) strengthen the capacities in public health of partner countries in the area of epidemic coordination and management; (ii) strengthen the capacities of WAHO and partner countries in heath monitoring and public health; and (iii) under the auspices of WAHO, support the development of a network of African states and technical partners.

This action learning on epidemiology intervention and community-based approach in emergency situations is therefore in response to one of the set objectives. It has allowed learners to be able (i) to use epidemiological concepts and methods to investigate and respond to signals, alerts and outbreaks; (ii) to define, organize and evaluate surveillance systems; (iii) to make decisions on evidence-based information that also takes into account the social and cultural context in order to adapt interventions and obtain the acceptance of social actors; and finally (iv) to communicate appropriately throughout an alert and health crisis. In addition to this residential session, the training program is completed by distance mentoring during 24 weeks. A pre-test and a post-test were conducted to measure the learning progression of the learner.

With their capacity strengthened, those public health professionals will form the first cohort of a harmonized and synergistic critical mass of competent actors that enable “RIPOST” project to make a efficient impact upon (i) strengthening technical and managerial capacity of partner countries’ National Coordinating Institutions towards health monitoring and epidemiological surveillance; (ii) the community-based surveillance; (iii) signals and alerts management, decision support system for prevention and response end lastly (iv) social actors mobilization.

The “RIPOST” project co-funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) and the French Development Agency (AFD), is implemented by Agence de Médecine Préventive – Regional Office Africa (AMP) as the lead technical organization of a consortium of renowned institutions specialized in public health and research [Institut de Santé Publique, d’Epidémiologie et de Développement (ISPED), Santé Publique France, International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI), Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) et Solidarité Thérapeutique et Initiative pour la Santé (Solthis)], as well as experts from national institutions from the six ECOWAS partner countries  (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Niger, Togo).

About The West African Health Organization (WAHO) :

WAHO is the specialized institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responsible for health issues. Its mission is to attain the highest possible standard and protection of health of peoples in the sub-region through the harmonization of the policies of the Member States, pooling of resources, and cooperation with one another and with others for a collective and strategic fight against the health problems of the sub region".

For more information on WAHO, please visit http://www.wahooas.org / https://twitter.com/OoasWaho / https://www.facebook.com/ooaswaho

About « Agence de Médecine Préventive » :

Agence de Médecine Préventive - Africa Regional Office (AMP) was established and incorporated in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire since 2000. Its objective is to help and support public or private institutions working for the development and practice of preventive medicine in Africa, especially in the field of immunization. Its areas of expertise are: field-based research in epidemiology, vaccinology, and health social sciences; health and immunization services and logistics strengthening; health policy and institutional development; development of human resources in health and action learning system design. AMP - Africa Regional Office oversees AMP’s institutions and offices in sub-Saharan Africa, established in Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, and Guinea, and its stands ready to do so wherever the need is proven and the means are available to implement transdisciplinary sustainable problems-solving solutions, nearest to the field and in close collaboration with national and international partners.

Contact information: Tél. : 00225 22 514 075 - Fax : 00225 22 514 079 - E-mail : amp-ci@aamp.org - http://amp-vaccinology.org - https://twitter.com/AMPvaccinology