Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Program (FETP)
The Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) is a 2-year field-based program within and supported by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)/Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development with technical and financial support from the U.S. CDC (PEPFAR, President Malaria Initiative, Division of Global Health Protection and Global Immunization Division) through African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET). It trains medical epidemiology residents, public health laboratory residents, and veterinary epidemiology residents for leadership positions in various levels of both the Ministries through a combination of long-term field placements and didactic courses. The program also offers competency-based field epidemiology training to frontline health care workers at Local Government level to improve surveillance and response to priority disease as part of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and International Health Regulation (IHR) core capacity requirements.
The Nigerian program was started in 2008 and is among the few programs offering a veterinary component to advance the One Health concept in addressing Zoonoses (diseases that are transmissible from animals to humans), emerging infectious diseases (majority of which are of animal origin) and other health issues involving the human/animal interface. This is done through gainful collaborations and networking between the animal and human health sectors.
Unlike many training opportunities, FELTP is fundamentally a field-based program with the goal of building epidemiological capacity through service provision. The didactic components comprise 25% of the focus, while field assignment activities make up 75% of the program. Residents are placed in state or federal public health institutions for the duration of their 2 years in FELTP. Experiential learning is at the heart of this field epidemiology program.
Dr. Muhammad Shakir Balogun
Resident Advisor NFELTP
The strategic objective addressed by this program is strengthening field epidemiology capacity in Africa. Emphasis is placed on the following strategic actions:
- Facilitating training of field epidemiologists.
- Mentoring trainees in outbreak investigation.
- Providing support to Ministries of Health in outbreak investigations.
- Providing support for operational research in epidemiology.
AFENET-Trained residents have also been recognized for their impact on outbreak response in Nigeria. There is no outbreak in Nigeria that does not involve graduates or trainees of NFELTP. They provide in-depth epidemiological assessment for outbreak that aid response and strengthen the core surveillance functions of identification, reporting, analysis and intervening. Residents have responded to over 300 public health emergencies including viral hemorrhagic fevers outbreak like Ebola and Lassa fever since inception. Additionally, residents have been engaged in response to lead poisoning, rabies, cholera, cerebrospinal meningitis, measles, diphtheria, Diethylene glycol (DEG) poisoning and mumps among other disease
A REFERENCE CASE:
EBOLA OUTBREAK IN NIGERIA IN 2014
In 2014, the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria needed well trained and motivated medical personnel to control, manage and contain the disease which claimed 7 people of the 19 that were infected. Within two days of reporting, 15 residents were deployed to the affected areas. At the peak of the outbreak, AFENET deployed one hundred graduates across the reported and suspected states. With the quality of training and level preparedness, AFENET-trained residents ran in when others were running out carrying out core surveillance functions of identification, reporting, analysis and intervening.