Controlling global outbreaks: the slow road to rapid control (session at PHE Annual Conference)

Dr Anna Kuehne, Field Epidemiologist, UK Public Health Rapid Support Team, PHE/LSHTM

Professor Jimmy Whitworth, Deputy Director of Research, UK Public Health Rapid Support Team

The 2013-16 epidemic of Ebola virus disease in West Africa underscored the shortcomings of the global public health community to both respond to outbreaks and conduct critical research in complex humanitarian crises. Responding to this need, the UK government committed to help build the capacities required for countries to better prepare for, and respond to, public health threats and prevent them from becoming global health emergencies. In response to this, the UK-Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST) was set up as a partnership between PHE and LSHTM.

In collaboration with the work conducted across the PHE Global Public Health department on strengthening compliance towards the International Health Regulations, the UK-PHRST provides an integrated project to combat outbreaks of dangerous infectious diseases with benefits in the short-, intermediate-, and long-term. This session will create a forum for discussing and debating the long and short term strategies necessary to minimise the impact of outbreaks in ODA eligible countries.

The session will aim:

  • To explain and provide an understanding on the capacity building, research and operational response activities of the UK-PHRST and the PHE Global Public Health team
  • To provoke discussion on the actions that can be taken to provide long term strategies to prevent future outbreaks of infectious disease
  • To offer opportunities for wider partnership engagement and collaborative working
  • Provide opportunity for feedback on approach taken by the UK-PHRST and PHE Global Public Health team

Those who will benefit from attending the session: strategy Leads, decision makers, directors, programme managers, risk managers, and public health practitioners.