BACKGROUND : As part of efforts to implement the human resources capacity building component of the African
Regional Strategy on Disaster Risk Management (DRM) for the health sector, the African Regional Office of the
World Health Organization, in collaboration with selected African public health training institutions, followed a
multistage process to develop core competencies and curricula for training the African health workforce in public
health DRM. In this article, we describe the methods used to develop the competencies, present the identified
competencies and training curricula, and propose recommendations for their integration into the public health
education curricula of African member states.
METHODS : We conducted a pilot research using mixed methods approaches to develop and test the applicability
and feasibility of a public health disaster risk management curriculum for training the African health workforce.
RESULTS : We identified 14 core competencies and 45 sub-competencies/training units grouped into six thematic
areas: 1) introduction to DRM; 2) operational effectiveness; 3) effective leadership; 4) preparedness and risk
reduction; 5) emergency response and 6) post-disaster health system recovery. These were defined as the skills and
knowledge that African health care workers should possess to effectively participate in health DRM activities. To suit
the needs of various categories of African health care workers, three levels of training courses are proposed: basic,
intermediate, and advanced. The pilot test of the basic course among a cohort of public health practitioners in
South Africa demonstrated their relevance.
CONCLUSIOJNS : These competencies compare favourably to the findings of other studies that have assessed public
health DRM competencies. They could provide a framework for scaling up the capacity development of African
healthcare workers in the area of public health DRM; however further validation of the competencies is required
through additional pilot courses and follow up of the trainees to demonstrate outcome and impact of the
competencies and curriculum.
Additional file 1: Health DRM core competencies, sub-competencies
and learning objectives.
Additional file 2: Curriculum for basic, intermediate and advanced
training in health DRM.
Additional file 3: Proposed public health DRM training modules.