Lobatse, Botswana – 17 March 2021
The World Health Organization (WHO) in Botswana in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) facilitated a Rapid Response Team (RRT) training for Greater Lobatse District Health Management Team (DHMT) on outbreak investigation, data management, community engagement, sample management and contact tracing at all levels of the national health system. The training was supported through the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) funding.
When delivering opening remarks, the head of the Greater Lobatse DHMT, Dr. Motlalepula Pone appreciated the support of the MoHW and WHO. In addition, she urged the participants to take advantage of the training to improve rapid response to emergencies in Good Hope and Lobatse. The training lasted three days and had 37 participants from various cadres including clinicians, laboratory professionals, data clerks, environmental technicians as well as nurses.
The main objective of the training was to strengthen capacities at the district level for effective and rapid response and establishing a district pool (roster) of multidisciplinary experts to enable the DHMT to respond to acute public health events (disease outbreaks and other emergencies with public health implications). The RRT training was interactive and included plenary sessions, presentations, group work to review case studies as well as practical demonstrations and simulations on handwashing; use of Personal Protective Equipment’s (PPEs); safe burial practices; sample collection, processing, packaging, and shipment.
Through the continued support from WHO, Botswana continues to strengthen national capacity for outbreak investigation and response including the availability of functional Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) that enhance outbreak investigation, data management, community engagement, sample management, and contact tracing at all levels of the national health system. RRTs play a critical role in fulfilling the International Health Regulations (IHR) obligations as well as the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) core functions.
As an outcome of this training, participants have adequate competencies in RRT composition, functions, alignment of RRT with current structures such as emergency operation centers and Incident Management System (IMS).