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EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTRE
The Rivers PHEOC was commissioned by Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC on Monday 16th December, 2019.
The Public Health Emergency operations Centre (PHEOC) is a physical infrastructure within the Department of Public Health, Rivers State Ministry of Health where daily epidemic intelligence gathering and risk analysis of public health events for identification of potential threats aimed at informing adequate and timely response actions to ensure protection of citizens.
It will serve as the hub for detection, prevention and response operations and will be centrally anchored on the principles of streamlined coordination, research & review, efficient resource mobilisation & utilisation, timely reporting with a readiness to act and a tiered response and active community engagement to inform decision making for effective investigation and prompt response.
The core values that guide Rivers PHEOC are as follows:
Figure 1. Priniciples of Operation for Rivers State PHEOC
Goal and Objectives
The PHEOC is a centre of excellence where the response to incidents are effectively and timely determined and coordinated. It has the goal of informing a rapid, efficient and evidence-based decision making on management of emerging public health threats.
Definition of Terms and PHEOC Nomenclature
PHEOC: is the physical infrastructural space where incident decisions are determined, and response operations carried out. Here full-scale response to an incident is conducted through an appointed or assigned Incident Manager whenever activated
Incident: Refers to public health events reported to Rivers State PHEOC or captured by Rivers State PHEOC including infectious disease outbreaks and other disasters with public health implications.
Incident Management Team (IMT): The team that lead response to a confirmed incident inclusive of supporting representatives of supporting organizations as determined with overall oversight of the DPH.
Risk Assessment: Refers to an appraisal of associated, potential magnitude and consequent impact that will surround an incident.
Response Level: Refers to determination of type, nature and magnitude of response that will be instituted by PHEOC following confirmation of an incident categorized as L1, L2 and L3 as defined in the response section.
Incident Manager: Refers to any person assigned or appointed by the Advisory board (HCH, PS, DPH) to lead a response through the IMT for a confirmed incident.
Functions and Terms of Reference (ToR)
PHEOC & Staff Functions
The PHEOC provides a central location where strategic management of public health incidents and response are accomplished and support for field operations are coordinated.
It serves as a centre for public health information collection, collation and analysis. It handles alerts and rumours to create situational awareness on a daily basis and reports to the management and staff of the institution.
During major emergencies, the PHEOC supports the implementation of the Incident Management Systems (IMS) that brings all the required response elements and to meet the needs of the emergency.
Figure 2. PHEOC OPERATIONS CORE TEAM ORGANOGRAM
PHEOC Core Team: Refers to the core group members of Department of Public Health who work closely and technically with the PHEOC Manager to perform certain roles in the centre and comprise of:
Watch Mode Staff/Risk Assessment Team
PHEOC Manager: Is the person as assigned or appointed by the Director of Public Health (DPH) to lead activities in the PHEOC while serving as the custodian of the facility. He/she is responsible for the functioning of the unit. Risk assessment, watch mode and meetings will be coordinated by this person
Operations Assistant: Is the person assigned to support PHEOC secretariat, manage the shared drive (if available) and ensures daily activities and equipment are operational.
IT Support: Is the person assigned to manage the local area/wireless network, set up the dashboards (SORMAS, Tweetdeck and Projections), trouble shooting and supporting any other IT related activities not limited to printers, video and audio teleconference.
Watch Mode staff/Risk Assessment Team: This team will comprise of all staff that participated in the mentoring session. Additional members may be added based on need as authorised by the leadership following appropriate IMS training. The team will be responsible for conducting risk assessments and will meet regularly and immediately –virtual or physically- once an alert is received, assess the situation and recommend immediate actions.
Terms of Reference
The PHEOC shall retrieve information on public health threats from Indicator Based Surveillance (IBS) and all sources of Event Based Surveillance (EBS) for analysis.
The PHEOC shall collate all collected public health threat information for verification and investigation
The PHEOC shall determine appropriate response based on findings of incident verification (i.e. respond to confirmed incidents, communicate feedback to discarded incidents or rumours and support ongoing investigations at a point in time).
The PHEOC shall conduct risk assessment on confirmed incidents.
The PHEOC shall determine an appropriate response level as either Level 1 (L1), Level 2 (L2) or Level 3 (L3) for every incident following risk assessment.
The PHEOC shall maintain a database for Rivers State RRT. Rivers PHEOC shall also determine, and guide expertise mix of any RRT team required for deployment to any response site.
The PHEOC coordinates preparedness and response to public health emergencies.