A course to train medical professionals in contact tracing developed by ACT Health and the Australian National University is set to be used around the world.
Contact tracing has become an in-demand skill since the coronavirus pandemic spread across the world, with teams within health departments dedicated to tracking and contacting all the close contacts of those who have contracted the virus.
A course developed in early March and offered to medical, nursing and masters of public health students at both ANU and the University of Canberra has already been completed by more than 100 students, who can act as surge capacity in the case of any more outbreaks in the ACT.
The course materials have been shared with major international organisations including the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, the World Health Organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Now a grant from the Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network to the ANU will allow the training materials to be translated to an online learning program that can be used around the world.
"This is an example of a partnership which has had a translational impact globally in COVID-19 response efforts," said ACT chief health officer Kerryn Coleman.
"I am incredibly proud of my team."
Tambri Housen, who is the curriculum convener at the Australian Nation University's Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, said the export of the training material to other organisations showed using students as contact tracers was an effective way to increase capacity during the pandemic response
"We were one of the first in the world to take this approach and other health departments across the globe have taken great interest in this model," Dr Housen said.
She said Australia's field epidemiology training program was now working with Canadian public health officials to produce training modules for contact tracing there.