Medical personnel from the Zambian Defence Force and United States Air Forces Europe- Air Forces Africa hosted the annual in-person African Partner Outbreak Response Alliance symposium in Lusaka, Zambia, May 8-12.
APORA is the first military-to-civilian symposium to be held in Zambia since the Office of Security Cooperation opened at the U.S. Embassy in Zambia.
The 13th iteration of APORA, facilitated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, focused on Rapid Response Team Roster development, which refers to the capability of a country or aggregate of nations to form a team that would deploy to support a partner nation’s outbreak response. These teams would be self-sustained, ready, and capable of responding immediately to any participating APORA member’s medical needs.
“We have an APORA forum that can bring different countries together as partners to mitigate outbreaks whenever and wherever they occur,” said Zambia Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Levy Muchemwa, Director General-Defence Force Medical Services.
During the symposium, the CDC facilitated workshops that enabled representatives from APORA members to design and build an RRT roster with feedback from partner nations, create staffing and rostering standard operating procedures for their countries’ RRT program and learn practical applications of change management to help implement the concepts learned in their countries.
“More and more nations are looking at APORA and seeing the magnificent work it is putting forward as well as the culture of cooperation it nurtures,” said Col. Steven W. Lehr United States Air Forces Europe – Air Forces Africa Command Surgeon General. “When you look at the growing membership count it is evident that APORA is tapping into the inherent human desire to respond and prop each other up in times of crisis.”
Participation in APORA is open to all African nations that desire to join. As a result, its membership has skyrocketed from 12 initial participating countries to 32 contributing nations, welcoming five new members at the iteration — including Botswana, Burundi, Malawi, Republic of Congo and Zambia.
“I am confident APORA will continue to grow, cementing a culture of mutual trust and cooperation that will enable partner nations to effectively respond to any obstacle the future might bring” Lehr emphasized.