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WHO and Borno State Government Collaborate to Train Health Workers for Disease Outbreaks

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has joined forces with the Borno State Government in Nigeria to upskill rapid response team members in tackling disease outbreaks, particularly during the rainy season.

This initiative comes in response to the recurring issues of floods causing cholera and diarrhoea outbreaks in the state.

In recent years, Borno State, particularly its capital, Maiduguri, has seen heavy rainfall leading to widespread floods. These floods have resulted in the displacement of thousands of people and have fostered conditions conducive to disease spread.

However, a significant intervention is now underway. The new training initiative will prepare 155 rapid-response team members to handle health crises across the state’s 27 local government areas.

The training program, held at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, kicked off on May 17, 2023, and will run for four days.

Dr Aliyu Mailafiya, the Director of Disease Control at Borno State Ministry of Health, expressed that the training focuses on boosting rapid response capabilities during emergencies to prevent and control disease outbreaks.

In his address to the participants, Dr Ibrahim Salisu, the Coordinator of the WHO Field Office in Borno, assured the state government of WHO’s sustained support in tackling healthcare challenges.

“WHO has been collaborating extensively with the Borno State Ministry of Health and the State Primary Health Care Development Agency to enhance the capacity of key officials in preparing for and responding to epidemics,” said Salisu.

He added that WHO and its partners have been supplying necessary tools and materials for frontline teams to operate efficiently in every part of the state, regardless of the security situation or time of the year.

Dr Salisu explained that the rapid response team (RRT) training is part of a broader strategy to ensure that the team members are well-prepared to respond promptly and efficiently to health emergencies or disease threats in communities and health centres.

He also urged health officials attending the training to share their newfound knowledge with colleagues who could not attend the training.

Editor’s Take: Collaborative Efforts in Bolstering Healthcare – Lessons from WHO and Borno State

Recent years have seen Borno State grappling with health crises catalyzed by seasonal floods, bringing to the fore the pressing need for improved healthcare response mechanisms. To this end, the collaboration between the World Health Organization and the Borno State Government offers a shining example of joint efforts to confront health challenges.

This initiative – aimed at enhancing the skills of the rapid response team – marks a critical step towards better management of disease outbreaks.

It bolsters the preparedness of healthcare professionals and adds an extra layer of security to the community during challenging times.

However, this is just a starting point.

Other Nigerian states can draw inspiration from Borno’s approach to tackling health crises. Collaborations with international health agencies, investments in professional training, and regular evaluations can significantly elevate the quality of healthcare responses.

A noteworthy aspect of the initiative is its focus on knowledge transfer.

The mandate for training participants to share their learning with others augments the initiative’s impact, ensuring that the benefits reach beyond the immediate trainees.

Such strategies can be pivotal in enhancing healthcare outcomes in a country with a vast population and an overstretched healthcare system.

Did you know?

  • Borno State, located in northeastern Nigeria, is one of the regions most severely impacted by the Boko Haram insurgency.
  • The World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, focuses on international public health.
  • Rapid response teams (RRTs) play a crucial role in the early detection and response to health emergencies and disease outbreaks.

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  • Sharon Chima

    Sharon Chima is an Editor and news writer who loves sewing and interior decorating. She is devoted to her two daughters and will do anything for them. She's got a bright personality that always shines through in any situation, so she has no problem sharing who she is with the world! Sharon enjoys writing about her passions: sewing and interior decorating. And, of course, all things family-related. Email:

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