Between April and June 2018, the Sudan Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), in collaboration with GHD/EMPHNET, trained the second cohort of the Public Health Empowerment Program – Surveillance for Polio Officers (PHEP-SPO). This program is a three-month training designed to train district-level polio officers in the areas of surveillance, outbreak investigation and response, and public health interventions management. The PHEP-SPO provides both didactic and mentor-supervised field training to its residents while they are still actively engaged in their employment.
The first workshop of the PHEP-SPO was conducted from April 7 until April 11, 2018. It addressed topics relevant to public health surveillance with a focus on the surveillance system of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI). This workshop was then followed by four weeks of fieldwork, during which residents collected, interpreted, and analyzed surveillance data obtained from the districts where they are working. The residents then conducted data quality audits and wrote weekly surveillance as well as surveillance data analysis reports.
Conducted a month later from May 8 until May 16, 2018, the second workshop addressed two other areas, namely outbreak investigations as well as leadership and management. In the area of outbreak investigations, case studies about measles and other relevant vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) were discussed. This topic was highlighted because measles is one of the priority problems affecting Sudan. Regarding leadership and management, residents were trained to conduct in-depth problem analysis, prioritize interventions, and then develop plans for managing these interventions.
This workshop was followed by five weeks of fieldwork where participants were assigned projects covering areas discussed. During this period, they collected, interpreted, and analyzed surveillance data obtained from the surveillance system in the district where they are working. They then wrote outbreak investigation reports, analyzed surveillance quality problems, reviewed departments’ annual plans, and prioritized department/units’ problems related to surveillance. To achieve this outcome, the participants also conducted problem analysis and developed a proposal to solve/improve one of the problems.
In the last workshop, conducted from June 24 to June 26, 2018, the residents presented their field projects and were evaluated accordingly.
The graduation ceremony of the second cohort took place on June 26. A total of 30 EPI officers were graduated from the states of Khartoum, Kassala, Northern state, and River Nile. This conclusion workshop was attended by representatives from FMoH senior staff as well as representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), GHD/EMPHNET.