Fifteen “EPI-Biostat Fellows” begin Master’s training at the Kinshasa School of Public Health (KSPH) – Africa CDC

The Kinshasa School of Public Health (KSPH) has enrolled 15 students in its Master’s training program “MSc EpiBiostat” coordinated by Prof. Dr Mashinda Kulimba Desire. The students are part of a group of 150 “EPI-Biostat Fellows” across Africa, supported by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). This highly anticipated new training program will establish an African cohort of epidemiologists and biostatisticians through ten grants supporting institutions in sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. The Congolese fellows have recently started their training and are expected to significantly boost the country’s capacity to monitor and contain outbreaks at provincial, national and regional levels.

As one of the beneficiary countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and its neighboring countries face regular outbreaks of diseases such as Ebola, yellow fever, measles, cholera, poliomyelitis, monkeypox and, more recently, COVID-19. Serious funding and skills gaps weigh heavily on its health systems, limiting the ability to monitor and contain these outbreaks. The training of EPI-Biostat scholarship holders should therefore have a significant impact on the health systems of the DRC at the national and provincial levels. It should also have a cross-border impact on the management of epidemics, given the long border shared with several other countries in the region.

Capacity building in epidemiology and biostatistics

Africa has faced challenges in responding to public health emergencies for many decades. Epidemiological data is often unavailable or very limited, and there is a shortage of trained personnel and systems to collect and analyze the available data and translate it effectively into policy and practice. The COVID-19 pandemic has further revealed the severe shortages of public health personnel and infrastructure and insufficient public health research and emergency response capacity in Africa.

To fill this capacity gap, Africa CDC and EDCTP have partnered in a €7.5 million initiative to support institutions in Africa and Europe to train a cadre of public health workforce that will build epidemiological capacity and biostatistics in the African continent through masters programs in epidemiology and biostatistics. Following a competitive call for proposals, ten consortia, comprising 42 African institutions and 9 European institutions, were supported. The three-year training programs aim to build the capacity of national public health institutes, ministries of health and other health institutions in Africa to collectively conduct public health research and respond effectively to health emergencies through the continent. The 150 EPI-Biostat scholarship holders from the ten consortia will have started their training in the course of 2022.

About Fellows
Fifteen students were selected from more than 100 applications for these prestigious master’s scholarships. Students have knowledge and experience in disease surveillance and epidemic response in the different regions of the DRC, one of the largest countries in Africa. The knowledge generated by the program is expected to benefit the research and policy community in the wider Central African region and other French-speaking countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

David Ntumba N’Kana

Doctor and Chief Medical Officer of the Kowe Health Zone in the provincial department of Haut Katanga. He has experience in primary health care management, tropical disease control programs (tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, neglected tropical diseases) as well as maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health interventions ( MNCHS).

Dr Emmanuel Mapangu Bushabu

Technical Assistant to the Provincial Health Coordination of the Reproductive Health program in the province of Kasaï, formerly Chief Medical Officer of the health zone for five years. He has worked in the management of primary health care, including planning, resource management, monitoring and evaluation of activities and epidemiological surveillance.

Dr Jacques L.Omanga Lomboto

Dr. Lomboto is Chief Medical Officer of Lingomo Health Zone in Tshuapa Provincial Health Division and former Chief Medical Officer of hospitals in other regions, with experience in disease surveillance and outbreak response.

Dr Ebengo Betoko Yannick

Dr Ebengo Betoko Yannick is a Doctor at the General Reference Hospital of Kabinda, Kinshasa. He has more than five years of experience in primary health care through health education and the management of patients with tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

Dr Kikwango Mamu Esther

Dr. Kikwango Mamu Esther is a medical doctor at Masina Health Zone and works in primary health care monitoring and evaluation activities as well as disease surveillance. She has been deployed to the field several times as part of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) response with the Emerging Infections Rapid Response Team.

Dr Abedi Maliro Papin

Dr. Abedi Maliro Papin is a physician and former director of the Likati General Reference Hospital. He is the chief medical officer of the Viadana health zone in the province of Bas-Uélé, coordinating the activities of integrated disease surveillance and response, management and communication activities of the expanded program of vaccination, prevention and management. neglected tropical diseases, HIV/AIDS and malaria.

Dr N.djeka LOhenda Mari-Helene

Dr Ndjeka Lohenda Marie-Hélène is Medical Director of Katako Kombe General Referral Hospital, Katako Kombe Rural Health Zone, with experience in epidemiological surveillance and maternal health.

Dr Tresor Mabika

Dr. Tresor Mabika is Medical Director of Kanzi Reference Health Center and a member of the management team of Boma Bungu Rural Health Zone in Boma City, where he has been involved in monitoring and evaluation disease surveillance activities.

Doctor d.end Tshonga Daniel

Dr. Dende Tshonga Daniel is a medical doctor working in the Tanganyika Provincial Health Division with experience in routine immunization and epidemiological surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Dr. James Ndoko Anzaka

Dr. James Ndoko Anzaka is the Chief Medical Officer of Lisala Urban-Rural Health Zone in Mongala Provincial Division. Her work has included coordinating all health zone activities during health emergencies such as measles, cholera, poliomyelitis, yellow fever, monkeypox and recently COVID-19 outbreaks.

Dr Blandine Kisangani Magayodre

Dr Blandine Kisangani Magayodre is a member of the communication unit of the National Nutrition Program (PRONANUT), responsible for the design and development of information tools for behavior change in nutrition.

Dr Bokpoy Benza Martin

Dr. Bokpoy Benza Martin is a medical doctor and former Chief Medical Officer of Bili Rural Health Zone. Currently, he leads the health zone of Poko in the same province. He has experience in primary health care planning and coordination, surveillance and response.

Dr Rachel Bulakitadi Ngakiebe

Dr. Rachel Bulakitadi Ngakiebe is a physician working at Kokolo Health Zone with four years of clinical experience. She has been involved in response teams against health emergencies such as Ebola and COVID-19.

Dr Luhembwe Mwana Ngongo Michel

Dr. Luhembwe Mwana Ngongo Michel is the Provincial Coordinator of the National Multisectoral Program for the Fight against AIDS (PNMLS). He has 11 years of professional experience in the health sector and 5 years as provincial coordinator of the HIV/AIDS program for Tanganyika.

Dr Iranga Barhabula Irene

Dr Iranga Barhabula Irene is a doctor at the Kabinda General Reference Hospital (former tuberculosis diagnostic centre). and the province of Equateur.

Africa CDC
Africa CDC is a specialized technical agency of the African Union that builds capacity and capacity of African public health institutions and partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks, based on interventions and data-driven programs. For more information, visit the Africa CDC website http://www.africacdc.org/

EDCTP
The mission of the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) is to reduce the social and economic burden of poverty-related diseases in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, by accelerating the clinical development of clinical trials effective, safe, accessible, appropriate and affordable medical interventions for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected infectious diseases. EDCTP is supported by the European Union under Horizon 2020, its framework program for research and innovation. For more information, visit the EDCTP website http://www.edctp.org/

Further reading
First EDCTP and Africa CDC-supported epidemiologists and biostatisticians begin training (12 October 2021)
https://www.edctp.org/news/first-edctp-and-africa-cdc-supported-epidemiologists-and-biostatisticians-start-their-training/

EDCTP and Africa CDC collaborate to develop outbreak and epidemic response capacities in sub-Saharan Africa (9 April 2020)
https://www.edctp.org/news/edctp-and-africa-cdc-collaborate-to-develop-capacity-for-outbreak-and-epidemic-response-in-sub-saharan-africa/

EDCTP and Africa CDC partner to train highly skilled epidemiologists and biostatisticians in Africa (4 March 2021)
http://www.edctp.org/news/edctp-africa-cdc-partner-train-highly-skilled-epidemiologists-biostatisticians-africa/ Call for Proposals: Capacity Development for Disease Control and Epidemics in Africa Sub-Saharan Africa, in collaboration with Africa CDC – 2020 (Closed)
https://www.edctp.org/call/capacity-development-for-disease-outbreak-and-epidemic-response-in-sub-saharan-africa-in-collaboration-with-africa-cdc/


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