Community-based surveillance (CBS) engages community members in detecting and reporting significant public health events. CBS is an effective way for early detection by identifying and reporting health risks and unusual events to health authorities and leading to early action in outbreak-prone communities.
To harness the force of the community in combatting poliovirus outbreaks in war-torn Yemen, the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MOPH) and EMPHNET launched the Polio Village Volunteers project (PVV) in 2017, under which volunteers from high-risk districts of the country were trained to boost CBS on acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) and other vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) in Yemen.
An evaluation showed the non-polio AFP rate in children ≤15 years and the Adequacy Rate have increased in Yemeni districts where the PVVs were trained. EMPHNET will continue supporting the MOPH to expand this training to additional 30 priority districts in Yemen of low-performing and high-risk areas.
Based on the updated training curriculum and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the PVVs and new selection criteria based on priorities, EMPHNET and the MOPH planned to conduct three three-day ToT training workshops (two in Sanaa and one in Aden), each targeting 20 surveillance and immunization officers in selected districts. In addition, 30 two-day training workshops were conducted for the selected volunteers, 400 community volunteers in Sanaa and 200 in Aden. One ToT workshop was completed in Aden, and the two workshops in Sanaa will start soon.
The training process will contribute to the eradication of Polio, minimize the impact of other VPDs, and control activities jeopardized by political instability, military conflicts, humanitarian emergencies, and the fragile health system in the country, noting that strengthening AFP surveillance is one of the main key strategies for reaching the global eradication goal.