The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone: creating a workshop for teaching public health and medical response.
Background Greater than 11,000 people died during the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak, which had a severe impact on health systems and social/economic consequences. Outbreaks and other biological incidents have highlighted the relevance of teaching public health and medical response to future health professionals. Health science professionals can provide invaluable help as first responders to protect humans in the aftermath of an outbreak. Thus, academics at De Montfort University (UK) in conjunction with biomedical scientists that have responded to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone have developed specialised training to train UK students. Methods Specialised training of 3 hours has been developed and initially tested with final year BMedSci Medical Science students enrolled in the Clinical Perspectives II module (n=24) for the 2016/17 course. The training consists of the development of a response to protect the public and minimise the spread of infection in the aftermath of a Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever outbreak (2 hour session). Students received comprehensive information about biological hazards and emergency planning (1 hour session) and a short description about this disease. Students, by peer-group interaction, designed an intervention programme following the steps of evidence-based public health and articles and other resources to inform their decisions. Information about the materials used in this training is described elsewhere (Peña-Fernández and Choi, 2016; Peña-Fernández et al., 2017). Results Analysis of the validated feedback questionnaire has provided the following results: 67% of the students reported high levels of satisfaction with the training provided and only 8% of students highlighted poor satisfaction that could be attributed to the length of the training (3 continuous hours; 31% of the students reported that the training had a long duration). The survey showed that 83% of the students agreed with the statement that the exercise helped them gain appropriate knowledge of public health prevention and preparedness (no students disagreed); and 91% highlighted that they learnt how to investigate an outbreak. Finally, 92% of students reported that the materials provided were enough to design their intervention plan. Conclusions Although these results are preliminary, the novel teaching materials produced could be effective for providing students with some medical response knowledge and skills to design interventions to protect the public in future outbreaks.
Citation : Peña-Fernández A., Lobo-Bedmar MC., Broadbent AJ., Choi EML. (2017) The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone: creating a workshop for teaching public health and medical response. ASM Microbe 2017. New Orleans, US, June 2017.
Research Group : Infectious Disease Research Group
Research Institute : Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)
Peer Reviewed : Yes