Regional Diagnostic and Surveillance Capacity (US$36.2 million) Under Component 1, the following additional activities are being funded to enhance readiness to cope with disease outbreaks: (i) establishment of selective BSL2/3 capacity to facilitate rapid and efficient diagnosis of EVD and other pathogens and minimize the need for transporting infectious materials across borders, drawing on thorough risk assessments to be conducted to determine the appropriate BSL required for different contexts in accordance with WHO guidelines and policies; (ii) construction of isolation units to manage cases of EVD and other infectious diseases such as cholera and TB; (iii) construction and equipment of additional laboratories to expand geographic coverage and increase national capacity; (iv) provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); (v) operational support for Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) and Rapid Response Teams (RRTs), cross border disease surveillance committees, and table top simulations; (vi) equipment and supplies for veterinary laboratories; and (vii) equipment for roll out of mobile phone disease surveillance reporting, based on the system developed under the original project; and (viii) pathology equipment to support a small scale cancer screening program.
Joint Training and Capacity Building. The AF is assisting the four participating countries to conduct training and mentoring of both health and non-health personnel in key aspects of epidemic preparedness and response using a training of trainers (TOT) approach, cascading training down from regional to national level and from national to peripheral level. To this end, the project is funding training of: (i) health workers (i.e. medical, laboratory, community, disease surveillance) at all levels of the health system to enhance knowledge and capacity to monitor, track and manage cases of EVD and other infectious diseases; (ii) non-health workers (i.e. airport and port authorities) to strengthen screening and reporting of cases during epidemics; (iii) community and civil society groups to raise awareness of risks, and strengthen case notification during outbreaks; (iv) animal health specialists to encourage a move towards a One Health approach; and (v) establishment of the FETP Program (Burundi). In order to address the growing need for diagnosis and management of NCDs, particularly cancers, training is also being provided to strengthen cancer screening and pathology services.
Joint Operational Research and Knowledge Sharing/Regional Coordination and Program Management. In addition to consolidating and disseminating findings from ongoing operational research, the AF is supporting the participating countries to conduct research to determine factors contributing to outbreaks of VHF and to identify the most effective strategies for managing epidemics.