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Tanzania ramps up surveillance to tackle threat of polio

The government of Tanzania is battling an outbreak of cholera that has since August 2015 affected more than 26,000 people and claimed 410 lives. Ending the outbreak and preventing its spread beyond Tanzania’s borders is a high priority for WHO. To that end, WHO and partners support a well-coordinated multisectoral response through the National Cholera Task Force which plans, coordinates and support subnational authorities.

As part of the IHR Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (IHR MEF) and the preparedness and response cycle, WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health to conduct an “After Action Review” (AAR) following the national response to the cholera outbreak. An AAR is a qualitative review of actions taken to respond to an emergency as a means of identifying best practices, gaps and lessons learned. The objectives of the AAR are to identify what worked well or not and how these practices can be maintained, improved, institutionalized and shared with relevant stakeholders.

During the opening of the 5-day AAR workshop, the Assistant Director, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Dr Elias Kwesi provided an overview of the cholera outbreak response to date highlighting the major milestones, achievements and obstacles.  Following the opening, the lead facilitator, Dr Mary Kitambi from the Ministry of Health, introduced the objectives, scope, methodology, expected outputs and agenda of the AAR. The overall AAR sequence was presented by the WHO Health Emergencies HQ/Technical Officer, Mr. Nicholas Isla. Participants were then divided into four groups (Laboratory and surveillance; Case management and logistics; Social mobilization and communication; and Coordination) each to be led by a National Facilitator and a note taker.

Participants are emergency response experts from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Water, President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government, WHO, CDC, UNICEF and Red Cross.

The WHO AAR Guide and Toolkit will be used to engage participants in a structured review of response activities, exchange of ideas, and deeper analysis of what happened. Trigger questions will also be used to generate discussion around the areas and functions identified for review.

The AAR is expected to provide the Ministries, other sectors and stakeholders the skills to identify concrete actions to strengthen capacities for prevention, detection and response to public health emergencies.

For more information please visit WHO Africa website


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