Nigerian Public Health Expert Brings his Emergency Management Training Home

March 6, 2018 

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Preparing for, responding to, and recovering from outbreak emergencies and disasters takes an all-hands-on-deck coordinated approach.

To prepare public health leaders for outbreak response, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Emergency Management (PHEM) Fellowship invites international public health experts to train at their headquarters in Atlanta, GA. The four-month course helps participants gain an understanding of public health emergency management principles and the functions that support an Emergency Operations Center. It also prepares participants to use their knowledge to train others in their home country. Fellows receive specialized training in public health emergency management functions and operations, participate in site visits, take part in public health exercises and responses, and are exposed to federal, state, and local emergency management specialists.

IANPHI was excited to host Dr. Oladejo. This photo was taken at the CDC soon after Dr. Oladejo arrived for training. In the photo L-R: Dr. Oladejo, Cat Witherspoon, IANPHI Communications, Katy Seib, IANPHI Director of Programs, Ellen Whitney, IANPHI Director, and Henry Vandi, CDC.

The International Association of National Public Health Institutes recently had the privilege of sponsoring Dr. John Oladejo from Nigeria as a fellow in the CDCs PHEM program. 

Dr. John Oladejo is the team lead for the Health Emergency Response Unit Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) – Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Nigeria. His participation in this training is essential to building public health emergency management capacity for members of the global health community who work in preparedness and response. 

Since his return, Dr. Oladejo conducted a five-day training with the staff at NCDC and in 18 states throughout Nigeria on the fundaments of Public Health Emergency Management. His team has learned the terminology used during an outbreak and how to manage a public health emergency operations center (PHEOC). They also learned the fundamentals of PHEOC activations and deactivations, and how to write a situation report during outbreaks, which is essential to risk communications. His staff is planning to train the remaining 18 states plus the Federal Capital Territory. Dr. Oladejo has helped Nigeria’s Katsina State arrange its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during this year’s surge in cerebrospinal meningitis (inflammation of the meninges of both brain and spinal cord) cases in the state. He also traveled to Ebonyi State to assist with setting up their EOC during the Lassa Fever outbreak which claimed lives of two doctors and one nurse. Dr. Oladejo said that because of this training, “We were able to combat the disease within a short time using EOC concept."

Taken from PHEOC in Nigeria CDC, trained experts who know what to do are critical to building a functioning EOC; more valuable than state-of-the-art equipment or supplies is the knowledge emergency management experts can bring to the table.

He is currently working in Sokoto State training health workers on the Surveillance Outbreak Response Management Analytic System, an open source phone/web app that serves as an early warning and management system. Dr. Oladejo recently stated that, “The training has been so rewarding and has expanded my horizon on health emergency management to enhance our capabilities and capacity, change our orientation on the way we do things to an innovative way of managing emergencies and containment of the outbreak. We are very grateful for the opportunity provided by this training.”

When every second counts, understanding how to coordinate an effective response can, and has, save lives.

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