Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds JIMMY WHITWORTH: My name’s Jimmy Whitworth, and I’m the lead educator for the Massive Open Online Course on disease outbreaks in low- and middle-income countries. I’m also a professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the Deputy Director of the UK Public Health Rapid Support team. Global experts from various institutions, including NGOs, government, United Nations, academia, and funders, have come together to share their expertise, experience and insights on outbreaks to deliver this course. At LSHTM, we have over 100 academics working across disciplines which aim to reduce the impacts of infectious diseases. Many of our researchers have first-hand experience responding to outbreaks, including members of the UK Public Health Rapid Support team.
Skip to 1 minute and 3 seconds This team was set up to respond to outbreaks, conduct operational research, and strengthen capacity for infectious disease outbreak, preparedness, detection, and response in low- and middle-income countries. There is no shortage of outbreaks to respond to. In the first two decades of this century, we have seen major infectious disease epidemics and pandemics unfold, including SARS, chikungunya, influenza, MERS, and yellow fever. Large scale disease outbreaks such as the recent diphtheria outbreak in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, and recurrent outbreaks such as cholera and Lassa fever, highlight the need for robust local and, if necessary, international outbreak preparedness and rapid responses to save lives.
Skip to 1 minute and 57 seconds When an outbreak is undetected and a response is not triggered rapidly and effectively, the human cost can be high, as in West Africa with Ebola. Many outbreaks are unexpected, like the Zika outbreak in Latin America, which caused serious birth defects on a large scale, with over 3,000 confirmed cases in less than three years. In addition to the direct impact of an outbreak, the further human, social, and economic consequences can devastate fragile health systems and affected communities, undoing years of social development. In this course, we will hear from a range of experts across disciplines, including epidemiology, microbiology, clinical medicine, social science, health policy, and health systems.
Skip to 2 minutes and 50 seconds Using videos, presentations, articles, and discussions, we will ask– What are outbreaks and why do they matter? How do we prepare for and respond to outbreaks? And what is the future of outbreak preparedness and response? The course is suitable for you if you’re interested in, studying, or working, in global and public health. This includes government stakeholders, health practitioners, NGO employees, and those responding or working to prevent outbreaks. In particular, those working in low- and middle-income countries regularly affected by epidemics will find the course relevant. We’ve seen infectious disease outbreaks throughout history, and they are not going away.
Skip to 3 minutes and 41 seconds Our course aims to strengthen preparedness and response in low- and middle-income countries to more effectively prevent and reduce the impact of outbreaks for better global health in the future.