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October 24, 2014

Ebola Countermeasure Training for Police Begins in Côte d'Ivoire

In response to the growing outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, JICA has carried out international emergency assistance to hard-hit Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Additionally, it has begun technical cooperation that includes facilitating a correct understanding of the disease in neighboring countries including Côte d’Ivoire, which are to serve as a base for contagion prevention.

Training carried out for 2,300 police officers around the country

photoThe map shows the five countries with Ebola cases in West Africa (World Health Organization figures as of Oct. 3) and Côte d’Ivoire, where JICA is working to prevent Ebola from spreading.

Although Côte d’Ivoire currently has no recognized cases of Ebola, it is important to increase public awareness and strengthen border control for the sake of prevention. It is therefore crucial to prepare an operational mechanism which allows both police officers serving as border patrol and medical personnel working in quarantine stations to collaborate with each other and control infection situations among migrants as well as members of the community.

Also, from the standpoints of preventing the spread of the disease and maintaining public order, it is paramount to secure the safety of infected people and of quarantine centers so medical personnel can smoothly cope should cases be confirmed in the country. And it also is exceedingly important to prepare the national police to take necessary measures to prevent panic.

So JICA, as one aspect of the Project for Capacity Building for National Police of Côte d'Ivoire, decided to provide support to strengthen the capacity of police officers to prevent Ebola with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This includes carrying out Ebola Countermeasure Training for 2,300 police officers at 39 border police stations at airports and harbors.

Japan decided to provide a total of USD$181,566 of additional assistance for this training. This will be the first assistance through bilateral cooperation for Ebola prevention measures in Côte d’Ivoire.

"The risk of coming into contact with people infected with Ebola is high for police officers posted in the vicinity of airports and national borders. We appreciate such training and equipment provision," said National Police Chief Brédou M’bia.

Confidence through training

photoDoctor Jean-Paul Assandé of the National Institute of Public Hygiene explains how to use infrared medical thermometers to measure body temperature without touching the skin.
photoTrainees learn how to put on and take off protective clothing.

On Sept. 29, the first training session was given to some 40 police officers at a police station in the Port of Abidjan. Both infectious disease specialists from the National Institute of Public Hygiene (INHP) and police medical officers from the national police took part to serve as trainers. In addition to learning about the characteristics of Ebola and prevention measures, trainees received practical training in such matters as the initial response when a possibly infected person is found, securing the safety of local residents, and putting on and taking off protective clothing, rubber gloves and masks.

Comments from officers who received the training included the following:

"I was able to confirm my understanding of the role that national police are asked to play in responding to Ebola."

"I learned what to bear in mind when confirming the death from unclear causes of a person possibly infected with Ebola."

"I was often asked by villagers about Ebola, and now I can answer with confidence thanks to the training."

The trainers, divided into three teams, will successively carry out the training by the end of October in the western part of the country including border areas with Liberia and Guinea, in the eastern part including the border area with Ghana, and in the area from the south, including airports and ports, to the north, including the border area with Mali and Burkina Faso.

JICA's Assistance So Far

To prevent the spread of Ebola infections, at the beginning of September JICA delivered to hard-hit Sierra Leone and Liberia emergency relief consisting of tents, blankets, sleeping pads, plastic containers and other goods valued at 30 million yen per country, including shipping costs. And on Sept. 9, it sent 10,000 biohazard suits to each of the two countries with the cooperation of the World Health Organization. The suits were provided by the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. Furthermore, at the end of September, JICA sent goods including sleeping pads and plastic containers to Guinea as well, valued at 30 million yen, including shipping. The goods will be used at local hospitals and clinics.

In addition, JICA has decided to carry out an assistance plan (120 million yen total) to prevent the spread of Ebola infection through technical assistance, and the Ebola Countermeasure Training for police officers is one aspect of that.

Furthermore, JICA experts are participating in the Kenyan government's Ebola National Task Force. Also, in addition to dispatching experts to prepare an Ebola diagnostic structure at the Veterinary Medicine Department of the University of Zambia, JICA is expanding experts' activities in Ghana, Senegal and elsewhere.

Using a wide variety of systems, JICA will continue its assistance toward preventing the spread of Ebola.

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