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Lessons Learned From a Large Cross-Border Field Simulation Exercise to Strengthen Emergency Preparedness in East Africa, 2019

Hilary Njenge, Frederik Copper, Allan Bell, Denis Charles, Lucia Mullen, et al
Date posted:
August 24, 2021
Publication type:
Health Secur. 2021 August
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
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Field simulation exercises (FSXs) require substantial time, resources, and organizational experience to plan and implement and are less commonly undertaken than drills or tabletop exercises. Despite this, FSXs provide an opportunity to test the full scope of operational capacities, including coordination across sectors. From June 11 to 14, 2019, the East African Community Secretariat conducted a cross-border FSX at the Namanga One Stop Border Post between the Republic of Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania. The World Health Organization Department of Health Security Preparedness was the technical lead responsible for developing and coordinating the exercise. The purpose of the FSX was to assess and further enhance multisectoral outbreak preparedness and response in the East Africa Region, using a One Health approach. Participants included staff from the transport, police and customs, public health, animal health, and food inspection sectors. This was the first FSX of this scale, magnitude, and complexity to be conducted in East Africa for the purpose of strengthening emergency preparedness capacities. The FSX provided an opportunity for individual learning and national capacity strengthening in emergency management and response coordination. In this article, we describe lessons learned and propose recommendations relevant to FSX design, management, and organization to inform future field exercises.



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