First full-scale simulation exercise in response to a public health emergency event in Egypt

18 December 2017 – The Ministry of Health and Population and the Ministry of Civil Aviation, in collaboration with WHO country office in Egypt and Regional Office conducted the first full-scale simulation exercise at Borg Al Arab international airport on 4 December 2017, in the presence of Alexandria governor and high-level officials.

The Government of Egypt recognizes the importance of building essential International Health Regulations (IHR) core capacities to strengthen the public health system, at the forefront of which is strengthening critical IHR core capacity at points of entry.

Egypt’s decision to conduct the simulation exercise was in response to WHO’s global initiative to recognize simulation exercises as a key component in the validation of core capacities under the IHR monitoring and evaluation framework, which was noted by the Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly.1

The exercise scenario was adapted to the context of the responsive measures that would be needed in responding to arriving passengers suspected of having an infectious epidemic disease, or viral haemorrhagic fever. The exercise evaluated the standard operating procedures (SOPs) related to infection prevention and control, epidemiological investigation, international notification and proper case management.

More than 400 participants joined in the exercise representing various stakeholders, including: General Quarantine Administration, Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation, Borg Al Arab ground services, EgyptAir, Alexandria fever hospital, Egyptian Ambulance Authority, Ministry of interior and others.

At the end of the simulation, it was concluded that the exercise had been a success bolstered by the high level of commitment of national authorities towards emergency health preparedness at points of entry in Egypt. It was suggested that the exercise be expanded to include simulations at various points of entry and to include all relevant sectors in further exercises.

Related links

WHO Simulation Exercise Manual