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Lesotho Initiates AVoHC-SURGE onboarding training for 50 responders


Staff Reporters

As part of the Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) Flagship Initiative to ensure health security in Africa, the government this week launched the AVoHC-SURGE onboarding training for 50 responders in Leribe District.   

The training is part of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Flagship Initiative Roadmap launched on March 19, this year, with support from the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Africa and funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, FCDO.

In 2023, the country enrolled in the WHO EPR Flagships initiative with the overarching goal of promoting health security in the African Region and contributing to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3 – “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages”.

During the launch of the training the EPR Flagship Coordinator, Zewdu Assefa Edea, highlighted that WHO was implementing three Emergency, Preparedness, and Response flagship initiatives including promoting the resilience of systems for emergencies (PROSE), transforming African surveillance systems (TASS), and strengthening and utilizing response groups for emergencies (SURGE).

This training is part of the four pillars of SURGE’s flagship initiative, specifically the workforce pillar.

He added that the AVoHC-SURGE training would be provided in two phases. The first phase is the onboarding training while the second phase involves specialized in-depth training. The coordinator noted that participants were drawn from multiple sectors considering the One Health approach and were selected through a rigorous process led by the multisectoral selection committee.

In his opening remarks, the Chairperson of the Social Cluster committee, Mokhothu Makhalanyane thanked WHO for their continuous financial and technical support to strengthen the health sector.

“The Kingdom of Lesotho is excited about this training as it focuses on enhancing SURGE capacity in the country during public health emergencies, by equipping professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to ensure quality care delivery under intense pressure”, Hon. Makhalanyane stated.

WHO Representative to Lesotho, Dr. Richard Banda stated that this initiative, coordinated by WHO and Africa CDC, aims to strengthen Member States’ capacity to prepare for, detect, and respond to health emergencies.

Dr. Banda reiterated WHO’s commitment to continue working with the Government and partners to build a strong, multidisciplinary workforce for health emergencies in the country.

In addition, the National Coordinator for Africa CDC in Lesotho, Ester Muchenje expressed her hope that this training will produce the much-needed pool of health professionals capable of responding to emergencies within 24 to 48 hours of occurrence in Lesotho and throughout the continent.

Lesotho is one of 23 countries currently implementing the flagship initiative and it is the 18th country where at least a module of the training is being conducted. 17 countries have completed the onboarding training.

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