The goal of the East African Clinician training in Especially Dangerous Pathogens is to decrease the delay in diagnosis, management and reporting of diseases of outbreak potential occurring in the region. Participants are taken through a four-day course organized by IDI with technical support from United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and Ministries of Health in Uganda and Kenya. This training empowers health care workers to confidently manage and halt outbreaks.

Dr. Anne Marion Namutebi, the Head of Department of Medicine at Kabale Regional Referral Hospital, is one of the beneficiaries of this IDI training program and is putting the fundamentals of this approach into practice at her facility.  She attended the course together with 13 other Doctors drawn from Uganda and Kenya in October 2015, in Nairobi Kenya. On March 4th 2016, Dr. Namutebi identified two patients with symptoms of fever, jaundice and bleeding tendencies whom she presented to her department on two consequent days. Applying what she learnt, she insisted on further investigation of these patients. The ailment was later diagnosed as Rift Valley Fever (RVF), with one patient having contracted it from an animal.

According to Dr. Namutebi, she was able to identify the disease because of the knowledge and skills she attained from the training. “I have had the invaluable opportunity to practice in a real life situation everything I was taught by the Infectious Diseases Institute such as: being keen on clusters of patients with similar symptoms, increasing index of suspicion and including especially dangerous pathogens (EDPs) in differential diagnosis list while implementing standard infection prevention measures. What we received is not just training, rather empowerment to touch and impact people’s lives and make a difference,” says Dr. Namutebi.

RVF is an acute viral disease in domestic animals (such as cattle, goats and sheep) and humans that is characterized by fever, general body weakness, back pain, and dizziness at the onset of the illness.

On the 15th of March 2016, the Ministry of Health announced the outbreak of rift valley fever in Kabale after three new suspected cases were reported following the first two cases that were identified on 4th March. The Ministry of Health dispatched a task force to combat the spread of the disease in Kabale district and boosted surveillance programs in Kabale, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo borders as reported by the New Vision on 15th March 2016.

"When we diagnosed the two index RVF cases, there was a response on the ‘One Health’ platform, involving the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre (NADDEC), the Ministry of Wildlife and Tourism and Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), which shows inter-institutional collaboration to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment," says Dr. Namutebi. 

The training experience and knowledge that Dr. Namutebi and her colleagues received strongly emphasizes the principles of infection control, early reporting, well maintained medical records and heightened index of suspicion to EDPs, and prepares health workers to manage any EDP outbreak, including haemorrhagic fevers.

IDI is committed to saving lives and strengthening health systems in Africa through training health workers to manage any infectious diseases in the region.