A. Peña-Fernández1, S. Fenoy2, M.C. Lobo-Bedmar3

1De Montfort University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences (UNITED KINGDOM)
2Universidad San Pablo CEU, Facultad de Farmacia (SPAIN)
3IMIDRA, Departamento de Investigación Agroambiental (SPAIN)
The release of biological hazards during biological incidents, bioterrorism or outbreaks of infection has shown to represent a significant challenge for healthcare professionals as it can involve significant numbers of patients and represent a global public health threat. Healthcare educators should provide students with the necessary skills in medical preparedness and response to these incidents to protect the public. However, this is not standardised in the medical curriculum. An innovative teaching group at De Montfort University (DMU, UK) in collaboration with first responders that worked during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in a Public Health England (PHE) mobile laboratory in Sierra Leone, have developed different, novel teaching training sessions to provide health science students with the necessary skills to respond to these events. We have tested the training sessions with students from three different undergraduate (BSc Biomedical and Medical Science) and postgraduate (MSc Advanced Biomedical Science) human health programmes at DMU. In general, these sessions were shown to be successful in providing students with basic skills to respond to minor biological incidents (Peña-Fernández et al., 2017), although we do not know if these could be adopted to develop standardized curricula across any human health degree in the European Union (EU). Therefore, the purpose of this work was twofold: a) to assess the effectiveness of the specialised training session that covers the medical response to protect public health with medical students; and b) to determine the effectiveness of the training session, initially developed in England, in a non-English EU university. To meet these objectives, we have simplified this specialised training and delivered it to final year students of the Medicine degree at the University of San Pablo CEU (USP-CEU, Spain) during an Eramus+ mobility grant for academics in April 2017. The two hour training provided consisted of developing a complete intervention programme to deal with an outbreak of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCFH) virus following the steps of evidence-based public health. CCFH is a haemorrhagic fever virus causing devastating disease symptoms that result in intense and prolonged suffering in humans and has become an increasing global health concern. This paper will describe the teaching resources used and a comprehensive analysis of students’ feedback to this training. Briefly: the specific questionnaire used has shown high levels of engagement and satisfaction [100% (31.2% agreed; 68.8% strongly agreed)] with the USP-CEU medical students. Despite its short duration, this training would be successful in providing medical students with the necessary skills to respond to a biological event. Thus, 100% (31.2% agreed; 68.8% strongly agreed) of these students reported that they learnt how to establish some public health interventions to protect humans in the aftermath of an outbreak of infection. Moreover, all USP-CEU responders have described that they gained appropriate knowledge of public health prevention and preparedness against these events (37.5% agreed; 62.5 strongly agreed). Finally, the Erasmus+ mobility grant for academics has been shown to be a relevant tool and resource to strengthen curricula development and validation in higher education.