13 November 2018

Congo-Kinshasa: WHO and Ministry of Health Train Health Workers On Compassionate Use of the Ebola Vaccine

Photo: World Health Organisation
Health workers practice proper donning of protective gear during the training on vaccination against Ebola.

As the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak escalates in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda is ticking all the boxes to ensure that the country is able to respond effectively should there be a confirmed case of Ebola in the country. As of 13th November 2018, there were 295 confirmed cases with 209 death and still counting.

Therefore, this week, the Ministry of Health with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) trained health workers on the Good Clinical Practice (GCP) course. This is designed to prepare health workers to conduct clinical trials with human participants. It is an ethical and scientific quality control course that prepares participants to design, conduct, perform, monitor, audit, record, analyze and report on clinical trials.

The GCP course is important in the ongoing vaccination exercise because it protects the rights, safety and welfare of health workers to be vaccinated, minimizes human exposure to investigational products and improves quality of data collection and compilation. Compliance with the standard provides public assurance that the rights, safety and well-being of the health workers are protected.

In the on-going vaccination exercise, a total of 97 health workers were immunized in Ntoroko district, last week. This week, 659 frontline health care workers including volunteers working at border points of entry will be immunized in Kasese District.

Despite minor operational challenges, the exercise is going on well and was well received by the district leaders and health workers. In many ways, this vaccination exercise is a "first" for Uganda in that the country is the first in the world to deploy the EVD vaccine even before it registers a single case.

This first phase of the vaccination exercises will be done in five high-risk districts. More districts will be added in the second phase after assessment and upon receipt of more vaccine doses.

The team that undertook the GCP course comprised of health professionals including medical officers, public health professionals, nurses, clinical officers, midwives, health promotion and education officers plus logistics management officers. These were drawn from high-risk districts and university or nursing institutions.

13th November 2018

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