The ECOWAS Commission, through one of its training institutes known as Ecole du Service de Santé des Armées de Lomé (ESSAL), is currently organizing a two-week training course on psychotrauma and emergency management psychiatry in the context of armed conflict.
The training, which started on May 31 and ends on June 10, 2022, is formulated to train staff on psychological injury treatment strategies and well-coded immediate and post-immediate interventions. These interventions reduce psychological distress, prevent the development of severe disabling psychopathologies such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and treat acute and urgent psychiatric conditions.
The training aims to enhance and strengthen the capacity of the ECOWAS Standby Force to respond to such medical emergencies in the complex and high-risk environments in which they may find themselves. The workshop is particularly aimed at civilian, police and military medical personnel from ECOWAS Member States.
In his welcome address, Lieutenant-Colonel Agba Komi, Director of ESSAL, gave a brief overview of the center, indicating its structure, roles and responsibilities. He further underlined the importance of the seminar which aims to deepen the knowledge of the participants and enable them to be deployed in high-risk environments. He thanked the ECOWAS Commission for facilitating this essential course and for their continued partnership. He also expressed his gratitude to the ECOWAS Peace and Security Operations Architecture and Support Project (EPSAO) for funding the training.
The German Ambassador, in his opening speech, reiterated Germany’s commitment to provide support to ECOWAS to promote and maintain peace in the region, stating: “As a key partner of the ECOWAS since 2008, Germany has always supported several initiatives and projects aimed at strengthening ECOWAS mechanisms dedicated to the promotion and maintenance of peace and stability. These projects include the EPSAO project among several others”.
He thanked ESSAL and all the partners for their commitment throughout this training and for having made mental health an essential component of conflict management and resolution in the West African space. He added that personnel to be deployed in peace support operations need such vital training given the very stressful environments in which they often find themselves.
Also speaking at the opening event, Colonel-Major Ollo Alain Pale, Head of the ECOWAS Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD), on behalf of the Director of Peacekeeping and regional security, congratulated all the participants for this important training. He noted that this effort is a concrete demonstration of the willingness of all partners to strengthen cooperation and coordination on peace and security with the Economic Community of West African States. He added that the workshop is mainly aimed at strengthening the level of knowledge of the participants in order to increase their skills in the field and to respond to traumatic and stressful situations. He thanked GIZ – EPSAO for their support in the success of this training.
This training was organized with the financial support of the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), through the GIZ-CEDEAO project Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO). ).