• Swift action

    Swift action

    A new web-based tool has been launched to facilitate a more rapid response to public-health emergencies in Africa, such as COVID-19.

    Up-to-date member profiles of the African Volunteer Health Corps (AVoHC) will be accessible to health agencies via the AVoHCNet platform. As well as helping to co-ordinate the deployment of standby volunteer emergency public-health professionals, the platform will enable partner agencies in emergency deployments to share information. It also facilitates training of professionals in disaster preparedness, management and response, and it features country-specific health profiles for risk mapping and vulnerability assessments.

    The digital tool was launched by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), which manages the volunteer corps, and Public Health England’s (PHE) International Health Regulations (IHR) Strengthening project because of the need for a more rapid and integrated mobilisation of community and healthcare workers across Africa to combat COVID-19.

    ‘With this tool, which enables us to maintain a current repository of potential deployable workforce, Africa CDC will be able to quickly deploy urgently needed personnel to any part of the continent with minimum delay,’ says Dr Ebere Okereke, IHR team leader for PHE.

    Since its creation by the AU in 2015 – in response to the Ebola outbreak in parts of West Africa – the AVoHC has grown its membership to more than 800 experts in epidemiology, laboratory, logistics, communication, social science, environmental health, animal health and incident management. The corps’ volunteers were also dispatched  to help combat the more recent Ebola outbreak in the DRC.

    15 September 2020
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images