A Joint External Evaluation (JEE) of public health systems in Lesotho shows a score of 1 out of a possible 5 on two components related to public health emergency preparedness and priority public health risk assessment. In an effort to address this and strengthen public health systems, the Ministry of Health of Lesotho in collaboration with East Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) organized a capacity building workshop on Threats Hazards Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA).
The capacity building workshop took place in Leribe, Lesotho from 02 – 05 July 2018 with the aim of training trainers on THIRA to build their capacity to conduct identification and mapping of threats, hazards and risks to enable the development of emergency preparedness plans in Lesotho. It was attended by 21 participants drawn from the One Health Approach and these included representatives from surveillance, laboratory, clinicians, environmental health, immigration, security, community leaders, metrology, veterinary, communication, planning, and fire department. The trained participants are expected to conduct step-down training in the country so that other key personnel can also benefit. This is expected to further strengthen public health systems in line with one of the main objectives of the Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health Systems Strengthening (SATBHSS) project, which targets strengthening disease surveillance and diagnostics at country and regional level.
The THIRA curriculum was developed by the Global Emergency Management Capacity Development Branch, Centre of Disease Control and Prevention of United States of America and the areas covered by the training content includes 5 modules as follows; threats and hazards, risk assessment theory, THIRA process overview, THIRA process workshop and practice teaching. The interactive training in Lesotho included didactic power point presentations and classroom tasks. In addition, the participants used the training materials to teach back to other participants in groups. Each group received feedback from the class as well as from the facilitator.
After the training, three recommendations were suggested for possible implementation. Firstly, to convene all trained participants to conduct a Threats Hazard and Risk Mapping for Lesotho within the next 3 months and secondly, following identification of threats and hazards, input findings into the Emergency Preparedness Plan for Lesotho. Thirdly, to develop a step down training plan for national roll out of the THIRA curriculum in Lesotho.