After-action review of rabies and anthrax outbreaks multisectoral response in Tanzania, challenges and lessons
Accepted: 19 December 2021
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After-action review uses experiences gained from past events to adopt best practices, thereby improving future interventions. In December 2016 and late 2018, the government of Tanzania with support from partners responded to anthrax and rabies outbreaks in Arusha and Morogoro regions respectively. The One Health Coordination Desk (OHCD) of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) later coordinated after-action reviews to review the multi-sectoral preparedness and response to the outbreaks. To establish and describe actions undertaken by the multi-sectoral investigation and response teams during planning and deployment, execution of field activities, and outbreak investigation and response, system best practices and deficiencies. These were cross-sectional surveys. Semi-structured, open and closed-ended questionnaire and focus group discussions were administered to collect information from responders at the national and subnational levels. It was found that the surveillance and response systems were weak at community level, lack of enforcement of public health laws including vaccination of livestock and domestic animals and joint preparedness efforts were generally undermined by differential disease surveillance capacities among sectors. Lack of resources in particular funds for supplies, transport and deployment of response teams contributed to many shortfalls. The findings underpin the importance of after-action reviews in identifying critical areas for improvement in multi-sectoral prevention and control of disease outbreaks. Main sectors under the coordination of the OHCD should include after action reviews in their plans and budget it as a tool to continuously assess and improve multi-sectoral preparedness and response to public health emergencies.
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