Though Rwanda has been lucky that it has not yet experienced any outbreak of highly infectious diseases, there is no guarantee that it will never happen. Rwanda is a “hot spot” for emerging infectious diseases given that Rwanda shares borders with countries that have continuously had outbreaks of epidemic proportions such as Ebola, Yellow Fever, Rift Valley Fever, Foot and Mouth Disease, and given the high volumes of human traffic, animals and goods across land borders, the likelihood of an outbreak and spread of human and animal transmissible diseases from its neighbors is eminent with an expectation of significant public health implications in a country that so far has the highest population density in the world.
Therefore, the need for developing a workforce capable of countering such human and animal disease threats is paramount. Given its mandate of building capacity for the future workforce, One Health Workforce project with the University of Rwanda, noted that there are still glaring gaps in as far as prevention, detection and response to infectious disease threats are concerned. Therefore a 5-day workshop on integration of content into the existing curricular from the infectious diseases module was organized at Tulip Hotel in Bugesera, 13th - 17th March 2017. Faculty came from the Veterinary, Nursing and Environmental health departments of the University of Rwanda. Tufts University and University of Minnesota provided technical support through Dr. Hellen Amuguni and Prof. Gregory Sales respectively.
Briefly the workshop focused on;
- Pre -survey and discussion on pre-survey/Expectations
- Introduction to OHW/goals objective/GHSA/IHR and PVS
- Add/Integrate One Health content into courses
- Add new/additional teaching methodologies
- Train faculty in use of additional teaching methodologies
Following this training, module leaders and Faculty agreed to integrate Infectious disease management modules into the different courses that they teach in their programs. They committed to change the way they have been teaching based on the new approaches they were exposed to. Below is a list of courses into which content was integrated:
- Environmental Health Laws and regulations
- Management of Health services,
- Community Health Development
- Waste management and Research methodology
- Community health nursing
- Community health in midwifery
- Tropical and communicable diseases
- Veterinary Public Health (II) and Food Safety
- General Pathology and Immunology
- Veterinary Microbiology
- Introduction to Animal Health
- Veterinary Clinics II
It is estimated that over 1, 8600 students will be exposed to these modules at different levels of their study to gain skill, knowledge and other necessary competencies to be able to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks efficiently and in a timely manner in future.
During this workshop, participants worked both in groups and individually facilitated by the mentors
Three technical support personnel from US University partners (Professor Greg Sales from University of Minnesota, Professor Diafuka SailaNgita and Professor Hellen Amuguni from Tufts University) facilitated and guided the groups
Although University of Rwanda has been conducting an annual training on infectious disease management for final year students, this is not a sustainable approach, especially in the absence of donor funding. Having these modules incorporated and delivered to students through existing programs therefore, is a viable way of ensuring sustainability. It is easier and cheaper to deliver these modules to all the final year students this way than through the Infectious Diseases Management short course.
The training was wonderful and participants benefited a lot from it. There will be a survey after three month to compare the pre- survey and post- survey purposely to evaluate the level of knowledge and the level of effectiveness and the achievement of activity objectives.