The Sierra Leone Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) has recently graduated cohort 12 of front line level comprising of 20 trainees of a total of 266 frontline graduate, cohort 5, intermediate comprising of 15 increasing the total graduates of intermediate in this FETP tier to 69, so the grand total all graduates in the entire FETP tier is 335 graduates .The front line trainees graduated after they took three months of intensive training spanning from May 2022 to August 2022, while the Intermediate trainees took Nine month of intensive training from December 2021 to August 2022.
The Sierra Leone Field Epidemiology Training Program was established with the frontline level in 2016 and since then a total of 266 public health professionals have graduated. FETP-Intermediate level was established in September 2017 and since its inception, a total of 69 public health professionals have been trained and graduated. The trained professionals are practicing applied epidemiology in different sectors of the one health framework including human diseases surveillance, animal diseases surveillance, environmental protection agency, public health laboratory, environmental health, and various diseases prevention and control programs.
The FETP model includes three tiers – FETP-Frontline, FETP-Intermediate, and FETP-Advanced. All three tiers use the same approach – 25% condensed classroom instruction followed by 75% field placements – to gain experience and competence in field epidemiology.
Speaking at the August 29 graduation, the Director of Health Emergencies and Security Dr. Mohamed Vandi appreciated the US Government and AFENET for helping the Sierra Leone Government to build its public health workforce through this FETP. He also reiterated his commitment to support the overall implementation of the program.
The US Ambassador in Sierra Leone, David Reimer reaffirmed that FETP is the top priority for the US Government’s support to Sierra Leone.
David Reimer said: “The United States Government is a proud and committed partner in these efforts. I particularly welcome the leadership that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation has demonstrated in establishing and taking ownership of FETP to serve the critical needs of the public health system – ensuring that Salone is prepared to face emerging and re-emerging public health crises.”
During the graduation, the trainees presented their field project findings and also made statements on the program’s impact in building their epidemiological capacity.
Also at the graduation were senior officials from various governmental and non-governmental organizations including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) Country Office, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Sierra Leone Country Office, among others.