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Training Program for Polio Surveillance Officers in Yemen Shows Positive Outcomes

Sunday, January 2, 2022 2:00 AM

Since 2017, GHD|EMPHNET, in collaboration with international and regional partners, has supported the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MOPHP) in Yemen in building the workforce capacity of its Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI). Together, they established the Public Health Empowerment Program for Surveillance Officers (PHEP-SPO) to increase the technical capacity of polio and EPI staff to support national efforts in maintaining Yemen as a polio-free country and in strengthening Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance. The PHEP-SPO targets governorate and district staff working in surveillance data collection, compilation, reporting, and response. These staff members are more likely to make the most direct impact.

The PHEP-SPO is structured in three workshops with a fieldwork segment between them: the first is a one-week workshop on Public Health Surveillance followed by a four-week fieldwork; the second is a two-week workshop on Outbreak Investigation and Leadership and Management followed by a five-week fieldwork. The third workshop discusses the fieldwork and concludes the training.

From 2017-2019, the PHEP-SPO graduated five cohorts. Trainees were surveillance coordinators at the district and governorate levels in Sana’a, in addition to EPI officers from the governorates.

A recent independent evaluation of the program has been conducted to explore the effectiveness and impact of the program on its participants. The evaluation was a phenomenological qualitative study where different stakeholders from trainees to organizers and funders were interviewed to understand their view of the program. The evaluation focused on three areas: (1) the process of developing the program, (2) its appropriateness, and (3) its effectiveness, relevance, and usefulness.

The findings and recommendations of the evaluation were shared in a dissemination meeting held on December 26, 2021, in Sana’a. This meeting was attended by senior officials from the Ministry, the EPI, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and representatives from international non-governmental organizations.

The findings shared showed that the program achieved promising outcomes evident in the improvement as perceived by the trainees in relevant knowledge, skills, and performance post PHEP-SPO training and the satisfaction of the different stakeholders and trainees with PHEP approaches, design, and methods. The evaluation also offered recommendations to enhance the program in needed areas:

  1. Increasing financial support
  2. Conducting refresher training workshops for previous trainees
  3. Improving coordination among the program’s organizers
  4. Institutionalizing the program within the MoPHP

Attendees concluded the meeting after approving the evaluation's recommendations.

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