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Joint Forces Command – United Assistance trains first class of Ebola treatment unit workers

By Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Hoskins, Headquarters, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

Fort Campbell KY - 101st Airborne DivisionMonrovia, Liberia – The Joint Forces Command – United Assistance DoD Ebola Training Team completed training the first class of workers who will staff the Ebola treatment units October 31st at the National Police Training Center, Paynesville.

The training consists of 8 to 10 days of hands-on and classroom instruction split in two phases – cold phase and hot phase.

The cold phase is conducted by the DETT, which is comprised of service members from the Army, Navy and Air Force, and is led by Col. Laura Favand, the DETT chief of training.

The DoD Ebola Training Team, comprised of service members from the Army, Air Force and Navy, train the first class of volunteers who will staff Ebola treatment units in Liberia, Oct. 30, 2014, at the National Police Training Center, Paynesville, Liberia. The facility is set up in stations where the students react to various scenarios they may encounter while caring for Ebola and Ebola-suspected patients. The DETT is part of the Joint Forces Command – United Assistance, which supports the U.S. Agency for International Development in the effort to control the spread of Ebola. (Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Hoskins/U.S. Army)
The DoD Ebola Training Team, comprised of service members from the Army, Air Force and Navy, train the first class of volunteers who will staff Ebola treatment units in Liberia, Oct. 30, 2014, at the National Police Training Center, Paynesville, Liberia. The facility is set up in stations where the students react to various scenarios they may encounter while caring for Ebola and Ebola-suspected patients.  (Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Hoskins/U.S. Army)

In the cold phase, students go through five days of intense, repetitive training in a simulated ETU. During this phase, the trainers go over every detail multiple times to ensure every volunteer learns and retains the training, said Lt. Col. Matt Fandre, the command surgeon for Joint Forces Command – United Assistance.

To make the training more realistic, the DETT constructed a maze of half-walled rooms that simulate areas in an actual ETU. Here the students go through multiple scenarios they may encounter and practice routine procedures that are critical to controlling the spread of Ebola.

The first class of volunteers who will work in Ebola treatment units search a simulated room for possible contaminates during medical training at the National Police Training Center, Paynesville, Liberia, Oct. 30, 2014. The participants work through various scenarios they may encounter while caring for Ebola and Ebola-symptomatic patients. The medical training is conducted by the DoD Ebola Training Team under the Joint Forces Command – United Assistance, which supports the U.S. Agency for International Development in the effort to control the spread of Ebola.  (Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Hoskins/U.S. Army)
The first class of volunteers who will work in Ebola treatment units search a simulated room for possible contaminates. (Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Hoskins/U.S. Army)

They also learn how to identify possible patients, admit them, and route them through the ETU correctly. In one training scenario, a student in the class mimics varying degrees of the symptoms of Ebola while another student is being evaluated on whether or not he can correctly identify if the patient should be admitted.

To better prepare the health care workers, the DETT also brings in Ebola survivors to interact with the students, giving them first-hand accounts of what Ebola patients experience, said Fandre. This mentally prepares the volunteers for what they’ll encounter.

The hot phase training is conducted by nongovernmental organizations, during which the students care for Ebola patients for three to five days in an operational ETU under close supervision, he said.

Though the hot phase may seem intimidating, those feelings are alleviated by consistent, repetitive, hands-on training during the cold phase, said Sgt. Kevin Scranton-Chaney, a DETT trainer. The students are held to the highest standard – perfection.

Sgt. Kevin Scranton-Chaney, a DoD Ebola Training Team trainer, Joint Forces Command – United Assistance, teaches volunteers how to properly mix the decontaminate solution used at Ebola treatment units, during one of the numerous classes held at the National Police Training Center, Paynesville, Liberia, Oct. 30, 2014. The training consists of hands-on and classroom instruction split in two phases – cold phase and hot phase. In the cold phase, students go through intense, repetitive training in a simulated ETU. During the hot phase, which is taught by nongovernmental organizations, the students care for Ebola patients in an operational ETU under close supervision. The medical training is conducted by the DoD Ebola Training Team under the Joint Forces Command – United Assistance, which supports the U.S. Agency for International Development in the effort to control the spread of Ebola.   (Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Hoskins/U.S. Army)
Sgt. Kevin Scranton-Chaney, a DoD Ebola Training Team trainer, Joint Forces Command – United Assistance, teaches volunteers how to properly mix the decontaminate solution used at Ebola treatment units, during one of the numerous training classes. (Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Hoskins/U.S. Army)
Col. Laura Favand, the chief of training, DoD Ebola Training Program, Joint Forces Command – United Assistance, explains to Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, the JFC-UA commander, what the Ebola treatment unit volunteers encounter during their medical training. (Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Hoskins/U.S. Army)
Col. Laura Favand, the chief of training, DoD Ebola Training Program, Joint Forces Command – United Assistance, explains to Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, the JFC-UA commander, what the Ebola treatment unit volunteers encounter during their medical training. (Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Hoskins/U.S. Army)

Every technique, from sanitizing hands to taking off personal protective equipment, has to be perfect or it could mean more lives lost, said Scranton-Chaney. It’s especially important because teaching one volunteer incorrectly can have a rippling effect among the volunteers.

Initially, the training is for volunteers who will work in the ETUs, but it will change into a course for personnel who will also travel and teach these techniques, said Fandre. This will allow Liberians to continue the course without assistance.

The current form of training will continue weekly until it is no longer needed, said Fandre. Eventually the DETT will create a mobile training team that will travel with a transportable simulated ETU so that location will be less of an issue for those willing to volunteer.

In this first class, the DETT trained 58 healthcare workers, 12 support staff, and 21 cadre members in the first phase of the training program.

The NPTC is capable of training up to 200 health care workers a week.

 

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