To ensure Singapore’s readiness in managing the next infectious disease outbreak, Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) and Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s (TTSH) Institute of Infectious Diseases & Epidemiology (IIDE) have joined forces to train healthcare professionals.
The new week-long course will equip health workers with the necessary skills to prepare, manage and contain an outbreak. They will also conduct practical sessions, working in groups to practice outbreak investigation and management methods.
This first joint course by NTU and TTSH is timely when the world is seeing new variants of influenza outbreaks. TTSH, as the designated national disease outbreak centre, was the screening and treatment centre for the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak a decade ago.
Drawing on their SARS experience, experts from TTSH have designed the training together with international experts in travel health and emerging infectious diseases from LKCMedicine, Singapore’s newest medical school set up jointly by NTU and Imperial College London.
Professor Leo Yee Sin, Director, Institute of Infectious Diseases & Epidemiology, TTSH, who is co-director of the course, said: “After SARS, emerging novel pathogens such as the MERSCoV and Avian Influenza H7N9 have again posed significant threats to public health and clinch the attention of the world.”
“Not forgetting the creeping resistant mutation of existing micro-organisms that threaten healthcare systems worldwide. It will be timely to build the capacity of healthcare workers in the midst of intense pressure from emerging novel or resistant pathogens,” said Prof Leo Yee Sin, who has been the helm in combatting the nation against various infectious diseases.
LKCMedicine’s Professor Annelies Wilder-Smith, the co-director of the course, said that another disease outbreak is inevitable. Already, the nation is witnessing a small outbreak of dengue – a mosquito-borne virus which causes fever and may be fatal in serious cases. Earlier this week, a "mega cluster" of dengue hotspots was identified in Hougang and Serangoon, where over 600 cases have been reported.
“It could be MERS-CoV, dengue or a well-known but now drug resistant organism. We don’t know for sure, but whatever the disease, the outbreak doesn’t have to be as devastating as SARS was if we are all well prepared. That’s what this course aims to offer,” said Prof Wilder-Smith, a renowned expert on infectious diseases.
Some 30 healthcare and public health policy professionals from major public and private healthcare institutions in Singapore are attending the five-day course, which runs from 23 – 27 June 2014. The participants will be building their skills in outbreak investigation and deepen their knowledge of current investigatory methods and tools for outbreak detection, investigation and response.
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About Nanyang Technological University
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.
NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).
A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.
Besides the main Yunnan Garden campus, NTU also has a satellite campus in Singapore’s science and tech hub, one-north, and a third campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.
For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg