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The West Africa Disaster Preparedness Initiative: Strengthening National Capacities for All-Hazards Disaster Preparedness

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 November 2016

Melinda J. Morton Hamer*
Affiliation:
Center for Global Health Engagement, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, Maryland Department of Emergency Medicine and National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
Paul L. Reed
Affiliation:
Center for Global Health Engagement, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, Maryland
Jane D. Greulich
Affiliation:
Center for Global Health Engagement, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, Maryland
Gabor D. Kelen
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency Medicine and National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
Nicole A. Bradstreet
Affiliation:
Center for Global Health Engagement, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, Maryland
Charles W. Beadling
Affiliation:
Center for Global Health Engagement, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, Maryland
*
Correspondence and reprint requests to Melinda J. Morton Hamer, MD, MPH, Major, US Army, Department of Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1830 E. Monument St, Ste 6-100, Baltimore, MD 21205 (e-mail: mmorton@jhmi.edu).

Abstract

Objective

The Ebola outbreak demonstrated the need for improved disaster response throughout West Africa. The West Africa Disaster Preparedness Initiative was a training and assessment effort led by US Africa Command and partners to strengthen capacities among 12 West African partner nations (PNs).

Methods

Series of 3-week training sessions with representatives from each PN were held from 13 July through 20 November 2015 at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, Ghana. A team conducted Disaster Management Capabilities Assessments (DMCAs) for each PN, including a review of key data, a survey for leaders, and in-person interviews of key informants.

Results

All 12 PNs generated a national Ebola Preparedness and Response Plan and Emergency Operations Center standard operating procedures. DMCA metrics were generated for each PN. Top performers included Ghana, with a plan rated good/excellent, and Benin and Burkina Faso, which both achieved a satisfactory rating for their plans. More than 800 people from 12 nations were trained.

Conclusion

PNs have improved disaster management capabilities and awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. The Economic Community of West African States has increased its lead role in this and future planned initiatives. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:431–438)

Type
Original Research
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2016 

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