Epidemiologist seconded to WHO will bring valuable insights back to KI
The eastern mediterranean region is currently facing a brewing health crisis, brought on not least by the war in Gaza. The danger of spread of infectious diseases means that effective epidemiological surveillance and action is key. To assist in these efforts, the Centre for Health Crises has seconded epidemiologist Moa Herrgård via our membership in WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN).
Since graduating with a Master’s in epidemiology from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Moa has worked on several projects, including on analysing covid-19 data for Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin. At KI, she has been affiliated with the research group Global Disaster Medicine – Health Needs and Response since 2017, where she has worked in particular on developing and organising courses and simulation exercises. Among other things, she has been part of developing the mass causality management simulation tools ViTriEx and AnTriEx. She has worked with the Centre for Health Crises since the spring of 2022, when she, among other things, was part of a team that went to Moldova to conduct mass-casualty exercises.
Seconding expertise to ongoing health crises is an important part of the Centre for Health Crises’ work. It allows us to bring our expertise and skills to where it is needed the most, whilst at the same time bringing back valuable knowledge and experience. We checked in with Moa to ask her three questions about her work.
What are you doing?
I am seconded through the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) to the World Health Organization Regional Centre for Health Emergencies in Amman, Jordan for six months. My job is to provide technical support and assistance in the detection, verification, and response to public health incidents in the region, including the development of surveillance and early warning systems.
Your secondment only began a week ago, what are you working on now?
My first task is to generate a landscape analysis of existing Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) in the region. I will also develop them further and facilitate knowledge exchange, through the Engagement Framework for National Public Health Institutes in Emergency Preparedness and Response.
Later on, the plan is to also move on to develop a cross-national surveillance system to detect the spread of infectious diseases, by synergising the existing national surveillance and early warning systems.
What do you think you will bring back from this to your job at KI?
I believe that what I learn about best practices of field epidemiology training will generate awareness and insight that can be brought back to KI and used in our teaching and training in outbreak preparedness. In addition to this, experience of the facilitation of systematic cross-country collaborations is valuable in general, not least considering the enhanced focus on civil emergency preparedness as part of the ongoing initiatives to enhance total defence in Sweden.