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Communicable Disease Undergraduate training at SUA and at MUHAS: Thoughts to have it incorporated in Curricula

Increasing enrollment in universities and the limited available resources and infrastructure for adequate training in health-related subjects have made it difficult for students to practice using the One Health approach upon graduation. OHCEA has provided opportunities for these students to practice One Health approaches through the USAID OHW project whereby modules on infectious disease prevention, detection, and response are being provided to students outside class hours until such time they can be incorporated into their regular curriculums. The modules include practicums in the field where human health students, animal health students and environmental students work together to solve complex problems facing populations living in geographical hot-spots for EPTs.

The purpose of the activity was to equip students with knowledge and skills on how to translate theory into practice to enable them to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases outbreaks; as well as to combat health challenges, such as the emerging public health non-infectious issues like AMR and Endocrine Disruptors. The long-term strategy of this training is to equip students with OH concepts and practices in the short-term while plans are underway to incorporate OH modules into their regular curricula.
During the current training, 69 future OHW undergraduates at the BSc level at SUA were trained by offering OH modules for 30 hours (10 hours per module) taught for 5 days. The course was taught by 10 instructors from SUA and MUHAS.

The objective of the training was to sensitize and impart undergraduate students with knowledge and skills on how to translate theory into practice to enable them to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious zoonotic diseases outbreaks and combat health challenges, such as the emerging resistance of microbes to antibiotics.

The specific objectives were:
1. To train students the overview and concepts of One Health and its relevancy in solving health related problems in humans, animals and environment
2. To train students on leadership skills and skills for building interdisciplinary teams and communication skills.
3. To impart some knowledge on risk analysis framework, hazard identification & characterization
4. To equip students with the skills of risk communication
5. To train students on methods of risk Management with emphasis on zoonotic diseases, emerging resistance of microbes to antibiotics and other non-infectious public health issues

The training was attended by 69 undergraduate students at Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania.

A remedial training of future One Health workforce personnel was conducted at College of Veterinary Medical Sciences-SUA and offered five OH modules for 30 hours. The training was conducted for five days. The modules were organized into 18 courses covered in different sessions along the week being facilitated by specialized instructors from SUA and MUHAS. Three practical sessions were conducted both in the laboratory and hot spots for infectious zoonotic diseases and emerging public health problems (abattoir and sewage treatment ponds. At the end of the training, certificates of attendance were issued to the participants.

The 69 students were exposed to; overview and concepts of One Health and its relevancy in solving health related problems in humans, animals and environment; leadership skills and interdisciplinary team building and communication skills; risk analysis framework hazard; risk identification & characterization; skills of risk communication and methods of risk management with emphasis on zoonotic diseases, emerging resistance of microbes to antibiotics and other non-infectious public health issues

Generally, the training dwelt on the use of One Health approach in prevention, control and eradication of diseases, Risk Analysis Framework (Risk Assessment, Risk Communication and Risk Management) with the focus on Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) zoonotic diseases, emerging public health non-infectious issues like AMR, Endocrine Disruptors. In addition, participants were exposed to a more detailed coverage on Risk Communication, Leadership skills, Skills for building interdisciplinary teams and Communication skills.


The trainees (BSc. students) as the One Health workforce positively received the training and promised to make use of what they leant during the five days trainings. The approaches on infectious disease detection, prevention, and response; zoonotic diseases; and solving problems like Antimicrobial Resistance and Endocrine Disruptors using One Health approach were particularly well-received by the students. The session on leadership skills was also found to be an interesting one for the participants. Facilitators noted with interest that students at BSc level are eager to use One Health approach in solving different health problems in animals, humans and environment. As a way forward, they suggested holding the training on an annual basis and to make them sustainable by incorporating the module in the undergraduate curricula.

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