Date: From November 2021 to March 2022
Countries: Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, Seychelles
The SEGA-One Health network: RSIE4
To cope with the numerous health crises in its member states, the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) set up the Epidemiological Surveillance and Alert Management Network (French: “Surveillance Et Gestion des Alertes “SEGA”) in 2009, which evolved in 2013 to include the “One Health” approach and become the “SEGA-One Health” network. It is the IOC’s strong arm in public, animal and environmental health, composed of more than 300 health professionals from member state, ministerial departments, and training and research institutions of reference in the region.
The SEGA One Health network collaborates with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). It has been supported by the French Development Agency (AFD) through the Surveillance and Epidemiological Investigation Network (French: Réseau de surveillance et d’investigation épidémiologique “RSIE”) projects since 2009.
The SEGA-One Health network deploys its interventions through different axes: surveillance and response, training through the FETP program, diagnostic capacity strengthening (Indian Ocean laboratory network), vector-related risk, climate change and its impact on health, and border sanitary control.
The pandemic of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has shown that the member states were not sufficiently prepared to prevent and respond to major crises, particularly those linked to emerging and re-emerging diseases.
It is in this context, and with additional funding from the European Union, the IOC supports the implementation of the project “Strengthening Regional Health Security and Mitigating the Effects of Epidemics and Pandemics”, phase 4 of the RSIE project (RSIE4).
The project has two specific objectives:
- To improve epidemiological surveillance, alert and response systems in IOC Member States and at regional level
- To strengthen strategic preparedness and response planning mechanisms for pandemics such as Covid-19
IQLS technical assistance within the IOC Health Surveillance Unit (UVS)
The IQLS team will provide technical assistance within the project for Strengthening Regional Health Security and Mitigating the Effects of Epidemics and Pandemics. The team is composed of Dr. Antoine Pierson, who has relocated to the Mauritius to join the Health Surveillance Unit (French : Unité de Veille Sanitaire “UVS”) as a long-term technical consultant for laboratories, Ms. Marie Gouriadec leading the project management, assisted by Ms. Ieva Kavace, and a list of short-term consultants (non-exhaustive as different experts will join the project depending on the country’s needs):
Dr. José Guerra (epidemiologist, IHR specialist), Dr. Cheikh Sadibou Fall (veterinarian, PVS specialist) and Mr. Ben Duncan (risk communication specialist)
Dr. Arsen Zakaryan (veterinary lab specialist), Dr. Abdoulaye Nikièma (senior human lab expert), Dr. Erika Ornelas-Eusebio (veterinary lab specialist) and Mr. Stephen Adjei-Kyei (laboratory medical IT/LIMS expert). Other consultants may join the team during the project as needed.
This multidisciplinary team will work on several fronts, in collaboration with partners and institutions in the region. IQLS will carry out initial assessments of human and veterinary laboratory networks, IHR and PVS implementation level, and develop action plans. An assessment of risk communication practices, strengths and weaknesses will be performed, used as grounds for implementing recommendations and developing materials.
Several trainings will be carried out during the project, such as biosafety training, lab system training and others.