PUBLIC HEALTH WORKFORCE CAPACITY STRENGTHENING

In developing countries where health services are not adequately or equitably available …

… it is imperative that the public health workforce be characterized by committed, well-prepared, skilled, and knowledgeable healthcare professionals. AFENET Nigeria strengthens the capacity of health officers at sub-national and national level through the NFELTP. Some FELTP graduates are leading state Ministries of Health and others are programme managers of various health interventions. Emphasis is placed on the following actions points:

• 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

The Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (NFELTP) 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.

Experiential learning is at the heart of this program. The didactic components comprise 25% of the focus, while field assignment activities make up 75% of the program. It also equips frontline health care workers at Local Government level to improve surveillance and response to priority diseases as part of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and International Health Regulation (IHR) core capacity requirements.

So far, 374 residents have been recruited in the program with 223 completing the 2-year hands on training. Over 900 have been trained in thefrontline 3-month FETP in 12 states covering 260 LGAs.  Residents have responded to over 300 public health emergencies including viral hemorrhagic fevers outbreak like Ebola, Lassa fever and others like lead poisoning, rabies, cholera, cerebrospinal meningitis, measles, diphtheria, Diethylene glycol (DEG) poisoning and mumps among other diseases.