Education Highlight – Successful health security is about partnerships in a shrinking global arena. We are fortunate to have a Dean that is well connected to the global preparedness network. In late 2016 Dean Khan asked the Center for Preparedness Education (in the College of Public Health) to represent him for the planning of a workshop to be hosted in Doha, Qatar. Drs. Sharon Medcalf, Ted Cieslak, and Elayne Saejung worked with Qatar’s National Committee for the Prohibition of Weapons of Mass Destruction, to design and conduct an interactive workshop in April of 2017. Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup in anticipation the city is building an infrastructure of stadiums, transportation, and healthcare to support the surge in population for the games. To that end, they are eager to collaborate with the College of Public Health as they prepare and plan for public health emergencies that may arise during this momentous event.
We provided up to date information on biological agents of concern and emerging infectious disease threats, conducted a tabletop exercise, and an interactive activity to test the healthcare sectors’ capabilities to manage a surge of patients with an infectious disease. The workshop was a huge success, and our hosts in Doha requested a follow-on workshop in April of 2018, attracting three times as many participants as the first year. This year we added training on public health surveillance for infectious diseases, crisis communications, and incident management to the portfolio of topics. Local workgroups were formed to continue the planning that will be imperative to reach target preparedness goals by 2022.
Conversations are in progress for the third workshop in 2019 as well as other consultative projects. These are a testimony to the importance of relationship building on a global scale because health security challenges are never confined to country borders. We are proud to call Qatar a partner in the quest to ensure that all countries are better prepared to respond to and recover from infectious disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies.
This article was written by Sharon Medcalf, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Director, Center for Biosecurity, Biopreparedness, and Emerging Infectious Diseases, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center.