Ready to respond: adapting rapid response team training in Papua New Guinea during the COVID-19 pandemic

Training for impact - field epidemiology training in Papua New Guinea

Authors

  • Celeste Marsh University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia; Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Sharon Salmon Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland; World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific, Manila, Philippines
  • Tambri Housen University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia; Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland; Australian National University, Acton, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  • James Flint University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia; Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland; Hunter New England Health, New Lambton, New South Wales, Australia
  • Joanne Taylor University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia; Hunter New England Health, New Lambton, New South Wales, Australia
  • Emmanuel Hapolo Surveillance and Emergency Response Unit, National Department of Health, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
  • Maria Trinidad Velasco Ortuzar University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  • Bernnedine Smaghi Surveillance and Emergency Response Unit, National Department of Health, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
  • Anthony Eshofonie World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific, Manila, Philippines; World Health Organization Bangladesh Country Office, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Berry Ropa Surveillance and Emergency Response Unit, National Department of Health, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5365/wpsar.2022.13.4.981

Keywords:

rapid response team, Papua New Guinea, program evaluation, COVID-19 pandemic, epidemiology

Abstract

Problem: Rapid response teams (RRTs) are critical for effective responses to acute public health events. While validated training packages and guidance on rolling out training for RRTs are available, they lack country-specific adaptations. Documentation is limited on RRT programming experiences in various contexts.

Context: In Papua New Guinea, there remain gaps in implementing standardized, rapid mobilization of multidisciplinary RRTs at the national, provincial and district levels to investigate public health alerts.

Action: The human resources needed to respond to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic forced a review of the RRT training programme and its delivery. The training model was contextualized and adapted for implementation using a staged approach, with the initiation training phase designed to ensure RRT readiness to deploy immediately to respond to COVID-19 and other public health events.

Lessons learned: Selecting appropriate trainees and using a phased training approach, incorporating after-training reviews and between-phase support from the national programme team were found to be important for programme design in Papua New Guinea. Using participatory training methods based on principles of adult learning, in which trainees draw on their own experiences, was integral to building confidence among team members in conducting outbreak investigations.

Discussion: The RRT training experience in Papua New Guinea has highlighted the importance of codeveloping and delivering a context-specific training programme to meet a country’s unique needs. A staged training approach that builds on knowledge and skills over time used together with ongoing follow-up and support in the provinces has been critical in operationalizing ready-to-respond RRTs.

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Published

21-12-2022

How to Cite

1.
Marsh C, Salmon S, Housen T, Flint J, Taylor J, Hapolo E, Ortuzar MTV, Smaghi B, Eshofonie A, Ropa B. Ready to respond: adapting rapid response team training in Papua New Guinea during the COVID-19 pandemic: Training for impact - field epidemiology training in Papua New Guinea. Western Pac Surveill Response J [Internet]. 2022 Dec. 21 [cited 2024 Feb. 28];13(4):7. Available from: https://ojs.wpro.who.int/ojs/index.php/wpsar/article/view/981

Issue

Section

COVID-19: Lessons from the Field

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