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GOARN Outbreak Response Leadership Training

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Public Health experts from the Western Pacific Region who are part of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) benefited from the first leadership training organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), in collaboration with the Robert Kock Institute and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

The programme took place in September 2023 in Berlin, Germany, and is designed to build the leadership and crisis management skills of highly experienced outbreak responders to act as influential and trusted leaders during public health emergencies.

During the training, participants shared their personal experiences, challenges and concerns, and reflected on insights from responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and recent disease outbreaks. They reflected on themes such as: how to create inclusive leadership, how to span boundaries and how to establish trusted relationships with key stakeholders to influence collective decision-making.

Participant Dr Peta-Anne Zimmerman, a seasoned GOARN focal point for ACIPC, used insights from her training during a Joint External Evaluation in Samoa that took place from 30 October to 23 November 2023, where she was able to work collaboratively with the Ministry of Health to identify areas for improvement in health security preparedness capacities.

Dr Yukimasa Matsuzawa, Deputy Director at the National Centre for Global Health and Medicine in Japan, who also participated in the training, appreciated how beneficial it was to his work. “When we try innovative ways of doing things, it requires a bit of risk taking. I built confidence in my ability to take calculated risks to bring elements of innovation to our work.”

Another significant positive outcome of the training is the network that it generates. “If we communicate during times of peace, then we are better prepared for times when there are emergencies, and we need to collaborate extensively,” said Dr Matsuzawa.

Read the full article on WHO’s website here – Regional experts strengthen leadership skills to better respond to disease outbreaks (who.int)