Emergency response capacity is key to containing disease outbreaks or public health emergencies. Rapid Response Team (RRT) members from various sectors, agencies, and line ministries are bedrock and front-liners that drive a successful emergency response effort. The RRT is multi-disciplinary, including professionals from the human, animal, and environmental sectors, working under the One Health platform with specific roles and responsibilities (depending on the nature of the emergency), operationalized at the national level and sub-national levels.
On August 1-9, 2022, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), in collaboration with African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), conducted a national rapid response team training at Alvino Hotel, Ganta City, Nimba County. The training was steered to build the capacity of the national rapid response team to adequately respond to outbreaks/public health emergencies using the one health approach. The training was conducted using the Liberia Field Epidemiology Training Program (LFETP) model that considers both in-class and fieldwork activities. A total of 23 participants were drawn from the One Health institutions/line Ministries/Agencies, including human, animal, and environmental health sectors. Besides international partners, AFENET and GIZ, institutions in attendance were the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, National Disaster Management Agency, National Fishery and Aquaculture Authority, Forestry Development Authority, Liberia National Police, and Armed Forces of Liberia.
Participants’ prior knowledge was evaluated using a pre-test, and the knowledge gained at the end of training through a post-test, sandwiched by daily quizzes to assess the level of understanding participants had from the previous day’s lesson/training. At the end of the training, a multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary national rapid response team was established, and a core team of national RRT was identified for county roll-out.
“Herd immunity (or community immunity) occurs when a high percentage of the community is immune