Assessment of Country Capacity to Detect, and Respond to Emerging Pandemic Threats in Cameroon

Saturday, 8 July 2017 - 12:00am
OHCEA Network Country: 

Major areas of Concern:

The workforce assessment in Cameroon is an initial step in workforce planning and development processes and initiatives. In order to plan and develop workforce efficiently, an assessment is needed to identify the gaps before implementation.

The general objective of the exercise was to establish Cameroon’s major capacities to predict, detect, and quickly respond to threats of public health concerns be they natural, deliberate or accidental.

The assessment specifically addressed;

  • The development and availability of human resources in the framework of prevention;
  • The development and availability of human resources in the domain of detection for the effective implementation of the International Health Regulations {IHR} (2005)

For other dangers emanating from the IHR and points of entry, the assessment examined the required capacities in international airports responsible for application of necessary measures to manage various risks in public health.

The assessment was conducted using questionnaire jointly developed by the Ministry of Health and OHCEA, Cameroon. Information obtained was evaluated by convening stakeholders to discuss and validate the initial Draft report of the assessment. METABIOTA sponsored subsequent processes, including workshops to revise the initial draft report. The final report of the country’s assessment was presented to the Minister of Public Health and other stakeholders for appraisal, adoption and submission to the Joint External Evaluation Team

The situational analysis of veterinary medicine teaching in Cameroon had the following objectives; 

  1. To describe the situation of veterinary teaching in Cameroon;
  2.  To identify gaps in the curriculum, types of specializations, the country’s needs in professional veterinarians;
  3.  To analyse the level of satisfaction of stakeholders ( students, teachers, employers and graduates)

Based on the holistic approach, the following EPT-2 program partners in Cameroon participated in the assessments; FAO-ECTAD/Cameroon, PREDICT2, P&R/USAID, METABIOTA, CDC, Sectoral partner Ministries (12 Ministries), WHO/Cameroon, UNICEF, CAFETP and CP.

The first 2-day workshop for the validation of the initial draft report of the internal assessment of the sanitary system in Cameroon was held at the Falaise Hotel in Banandjo, Douala in March 2017 with the participation of the National Observatory for Public Health (NOPH), sectoral administrations and EPT-2 partners.

The results of the assessment were presented following the indicators and scores of the Joint External Evaluation (JEE).

  1. For all human resources, the assessment noted that there were limited human resources to fulfill the major required capacities in form of IHR (SCORE 3). Major weaknesses were;
  • Inadequate numbers of qualified staff
  • Lack of a capacity building policy for trained epidemiologists.

 

  1. In Cameroon, there is a training program in local epidemiology and/or applied epidemiology. There are two levels of FETP (basic, intermediate and /or advanced) or training programs in applied epidemiology are set up in the country or in another country through existing agreements. The number of epidemiologists however remain low for effective deployment in the country.  (SCORE 4).

 

  1. For the management of anti-microbials (SCORE 1), the assessment realized a lot of need as elaborated below;
  • Lack of adequate number of pharmacists in the human health system. ;
  • Lack of adequate number of veterinarians in the animal health system

 

  1. For veterinary and animal health staff(SCORE 2), the following observations were made;
  • Weakness in local training in animal health 
  • Inadequate number of veterinarians and animal health staff

 

  1. For training and practice in the domain of health safety and security ( SCORE 1), the observations were;
  • Lack of a continuous national training program in the area of health safety and security in all structures that stock or manipulate dangerous pathogenic and toxic agents;
  • Lack of a common curriculum for training in health safety and security in all structures that stock or manipulate dangerous pathogenic agents;
  • Limited staff  training in health safety and security in all structures that stock or manipulate dangerous pathogenic agents has been done;
  • Assessment for needs in health safety and security have not been accomplished;
  • Staff don’t undergo training in procedures for biological safety and security except during the process of upgrading (P2 + P3 of CPC);
  • Cameroon has not developed and has not set up a teacher training program for health security and safety;
  • National learning institutions do not suggest training programs for health security for people who manipulate dangerous pathogenic agents;
  • The country lacks finance and capacity to offer training in health security and safety;
  • Insufficient national budgetary and human resources to allow for proper maintenance of structures and materials in appropriate times;
  • Lack of a mechanism to guarantee and track staff competencies and their training in all laboratories;
  • Insufficient equipment for individual protection for laboratory staff in the process of carrying out assessment of local risks;
  • Lack of a framework for documenting, notifying, investigating and resolving incidents and accidents which occur in a structure on a national level.

 

  1. For surveillance systems based on indicators as well as surveillance of occurrences a SCORE 3 was obtained. The following observations were made;
  • Participation of communities in the surveillance systems remains low, which means there is a training need at community level ;
  • Inadequate information sharing on surveillance between human and animal health surveillance systems using electronic messages, relationships and data base (hence the need to develop tools or training of staff using the existing tools) ;
  • Surveillance systems for human, animal and environmental health are independent. They are not interconnected nor inter-usable. Communication and sharing of information is limited to critical periods and critical situations (training on inter-sectoral collaboration in the surveillance framework on SMIR) 
  • Inadequacies in supervision of staff and training community agents on surveillance activities in the framework of SMIR (need for community training on the SMIR) 
  • The procedure for notification of stakeholders on national, intermediate / regional levels is done through administrative correspondences and is still highly centralized, (hence the need for zonal decentralized training)

 

  1. For an efficient notification system at the WHO, the FAO and the OIE (SCORE 3), the assessment indicated that;
  • Notification on microbiological dangers linked to foodstuffs is not done;
  • There is no program for recycling of focal points raised in the notification chain of incidents of animal health at WHO;

The same applies to the network and protocol of notification in the country, (SCORE 1); there is lack of stimulation tasks in animal health and joint tasks between the animal, human and environmental sectors.