June 13, 2018
On Friday, June 8, Acting CDC Country Director, Reinhard Kaiser attended the graduation ceremony of the fifth cohort of the Frontline Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP).
According to a release from the US Embassy in Sierra Leone,the FETP—run by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with the Sierra Leonean Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS)—trains Sierra Leonean public health professionals in epidemiology, surveillance, and outbreak response.
It states that the fifth cohort now makes 100 “disease detectives” trained to rapidly detect and respond to outbreaks in this country.
‘The U.S. government, through the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), is committed to supporting impactful programs like FETP in Sierra Leone. The GHSA mission is to prevent, detect, and respond to disease threats. The Government of Sierra Leone has shown global leadership in establishing and implementing these critical programs,’ the release states.
The release further that FETP in Sierra Leone forms the cornerstone of a joint U.S.-Sierra Leonean effort to build disease surveillance capacity.
‘The establishment of FETP-Frontline in Sierra Leone in June 2016 and the FETP-Intermediate in September 2017 has helped build a trained public health workforce at the district and community level across Sierra Leone. There has been marked improvement in disease surveillance, outbreak response, and communication skills in public health workers.’
It also noted that in order to continue to support efforts for the sustainability of the program by MOHS, current participants of FETP-Intermediate have served as mentors for the current cohort of FETP-Frontline.
‘Mentoring is an important aspect of the FETP and provides ‘on-the-job’ training experience and guidance outside the classroom. These strategies assist in developing the public health workforce in Sierra Leone to improve epidemiologic capacity to evaluate and strengthen public health surveillance systems, investigate and control outbreaks, and conduct field studies to address public health priority issues.’
According to the release, the United States Government is a proud and committed partner in these efforts and that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, in establishing the FETP, was serving the critical needs of the public health system so that we never again experience a public health crisis the size and with the devastating impact of the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.