The Gambian government conducted a COVID-19 Vaccine Training Workshop for senior health workers ahead of the highly anticipated vaccination launch set for the 10th of March 2021.
This follows a successful handover of 36 000 doses received from COVAX facility where the first batches will be prioritized towards target population.
The technical group comprising UN partners and MOH experts trained 5 senior health workers in the country on COVID-19 vaccination processes at Ministry of Health Offices, EPI boardroom on the 5th March 2021.
They were drawn from Western Health region and were trained to carry out COVID-19 vaccination procedures. Part of the training anchored on the preparation to become an operational expert during the vaccination process.
The training will see health workers becoming advanced COVID-19 immunization experts. They now able to conduct any form of vaccination that MOH may require including the formal launch of COVAX. This group will also vaccinate people at treatment centers, the laboratories, including prioritization of senior citizens of the country.
As more trainings are expected, the same health workers are expected to become trainer of trainers in order to reach out to many people in different regions.
Musa H Camara, National Surveillance Officer for Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPD) said, “We are using COVID-19 for the first time and our team will be very prepared to kickstart. The team has been given detailed information of the vaccination. They are also equipped on communication skills. They will also join pool of expert health workers to conduct the training of other health workers.”
Word Health Organization’s EPI programme Officer, Mr Jargo emphasized the importance of information and the need to monitor adverse events during the immunization.
Mr Jargo said, “following the training we need to observe and address anydverse events following immunization (AEFI) among our clients, to ensure wrong information is not allowed to derail the vaccination campaign. If AEFI are noted, they should be investigated and be addressed.”
One of the training participants, Ramatouli M Ceesay, Public Health Officer, located at Serekunda Western Region 1 said, “The training is equipping us with the expertise required for us to conduct the COVID-19 vaccination process. I had little information about the vaccine before coming here. Now, I have adequate information to convince and guide people during immunization.”
Two experts from WHO attended the training with the Country Office providing relevant materials. Additional Information on training materials is found on WHO's official Website.
The health workers were trained on the handling of the vaccine maintaining their cold chain, vaccination sessions- schedule and recommendations, standard infection prevention and control, identification and monitoring of adverse events following immunization, tools for data collection and communication process.
Vaccination of health workers COVID-19 patients at treatment centers Sanatorium, Bakau and Lemon creek is expected to commence soon followed by an official launch.
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