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    Master of Public Health Program Participates in Ghana Pandemic Response Plan Table Top Exercise

    In February 2012, an emergency preparedness table top exercise was hosted by the Ghanaian Government, designed to assess the current capabilities of the Ghanaian government to respond to a potential pandemic outbreak of influenza.   Representatives from five African nations and the United States included doctors, public health professionals, international health experts and various military personnel who came together to  identify gaps in the Ghanaian Government’s existing pandemic plans, facilitate the development of a national pandemic response plan, and provide recommendations for building a national and regional disaster response capacity.    

    Approximately 120 people participated in the tabletop exercise including two members of the Morehouse School of Medicine’s Master of Public Health program.  Mrs. Reinetta T. Waldrop, an instructor who teaches the program’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management course, has over 10 years of experience in emergency preparedness and response and Mr. Dominic Hosack, a first year student in the program, who earned a spot in the program by submitting an essay on social epidemiology with a global health perspective, regarding emergency preparedness to disease outbreaks in developing countries.  

    Waldrop was assigned to the Logistics Group, while Hosack assisted the Operations Group. The role of the various members of the US team was to engage the participants to think about innovative ways to address problems and provide technical assistance.  

    In the 20th century, influenza developed into a killer pandemic three times and was responsible for millions of deaths. Special Assistant to the Commander of U.S. Africa Command, Brigadier General Stayce Harris, spoke of the importance and history of this year's pandemic response tabletop exercise, "Let us not forget, that the 2009 H1N1 outbreak highlighted the critical importance of a holistic approach required of governments, civil society and the military to mitigate the effects of a complex humanitarian emergency like a severe pandemic outbreak, hence, the purpose of this exercise."

    US AFRICOM developed the Pandemic Response Program (PRP) to assist African partner nation militaries in developing pandemic disaster response plans in support of their larger national plans. The program was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and supported by the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine (CDHAM). The Ghana Pandemic Response Table Top Exercise was hosted by the Government of the Republic of Ghana, February 6 -10, 2012 in Elmina, Ghana.