EAC and Germany jointly launch programme to support COVID-19 preparedness

by Amref Health Africa

Human mobility across the globe has played a major role in the rapid spread of COVID-19. Airports are one of the high-risk areas for the spread of infectious diseases. EAC Secretariat and the German Government have been working together within their joint programme “Support to pandemic preparedness in the EAC region” since March 2017. In the face of the Corona pandemic, the German Government committed an additional EUR 1 million (approximately: TZS 2,5 billion) to the EUR 6 million programme.

With part of these additional funds, the EAC Secretariat and the EAC Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA) is implementing emergency COVID-19 intervention training for staff at the nine international airports in the six EAC Partner States.

Today, the emergency training at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport on Zanzibar was kicked-off. The capacity-building measures are facilitated by the German Government through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, coordinated by CASSOA and implemented by AMREF Flying Doctors. The two-day-training will – taking into account social distancing requirements – involve a wide range of staff with close contact to passengers and/or their luggage, such as airport medical service providers, aircraft and airline operators, selected crew members, the staff at immigration and customs, cargo and baggage handlers and more. The aim of the training is to build the knowledge of the staff on safety measures, surveillance, prevention and control strategies and relevant regional guidelines. Through the Training of Trainers, the airports will be enabled to develop their own staff training and surveillance regimes. As a result, surveillance capacities will be strengthened, early-warning systems improved and public health responses at the airports better coordinated.

“These trainings are implemented at a critical point in time before international travel picks up again.”, the German Ambassador Regine Hess said. “The German Government is proud to support these measures so that Zanzibar International Airport is in a better position to detect and respond to COVID-19 and prevent further spread of the disease.”

A total of 270 key airport personnel will become trained trainers across the region and will subsequently develop and conduct their own classes to roll-out the training sessions. The course design and curriculum development is based on the International Health Regulations, best practices of the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control as well as the Standards and Recommended Practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The training will also be conducted at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam from 13-16 July and Kilimanjaro International Airport from 20-23 July.

(With Inputs from APO)

Article first published on Devdiscourse, India.

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