Stories of Disease Detectives on the Frontline of Response Around the Globe

This story was originally published in TEPHINET’s Field Notes from FETPs Fighting COVID-19: May 2020.

A frontline “disease detective,” Auria Banze, who is a Cohort 4 graduate of the Mozambique Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP), shares a story from her outbreak response work in the field.

“On April 1, a COVID-19 case was confirmed in the camp of a multinational company operating on the extraction of liquified gas in a northern province,” said Banze. “I was designated as the team leader for this investigation. 

Auria Banze on assignment responding to a confirmed COVID-19 case in Mozambique. Photo courtesy of Dionisia Balate

We had to conduct case investigations and contact tracing to block the chain of transmission and prevent the spread of new cases to the community. I felt a chill of anxiety in my belly from the great responsibility. Everything depended on the success of my work to be able to control this cluster, so I had to concentrate and give my best. I also felt my heart break because I had to travel for work and leave my six-month-old baby daughter.”

“Upon arriving at the camp, with the support of the local team, we conducted investigations and managed to trace 32 contacts in the company camp and two contacts in the community. All contacts were quarantined. We tested all 34 contacts for SARS-CoV-2, of which five from the camp were positive and the two community contacts were negative. We visited the camp clinic, where we looked in the logbooks and found that they often treated patients with upper respiratory infections and implemented active surveillance for COVID-19.”

The Task Force’s Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET) supports and strengthens Field Epidemiology (and Laboratory) Training Programs that train and deploy public health workers, like Banze, for disease surveillance and outbreak response in more than 100 countries.

Read more stories from disease detectives responding to the coronavirus pandemic.


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