In the wake of the Ebola and Lassa Fever outbreaks in Nigeria and the larger West African region, the work of “public health disease detectives” more formally called field epidemiologists, has increasingly come to light. Field epidemiologists are the foot soldiers in tracking and analyzing disease outbreaks before they become widespread, and their work provides valuable information that can be used to determine not only where the next outbreak might happen, but how it may be prevented.
They are trained to gather medical and health information from the field, from research or from historical data. They analyze the cause of disease outbreaks in order to help treat existing diseases and prevent future outbreaks. They use their findings to develop public health initiatives and to discover how diseases originate and spread and how they can be treated. They are thus invaluable in protecting the public from the spread of infectious diseases.
The organization tasked with training these disease detectives in Africa is the African Field Epidemiology Network headquartered in Kampala Uganda but with operations in 33 African countries including Nigeria. Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) are typically run within the Ministries of Health. The oldest program in Africa is the Zimbabwe program created in 1994. Subsequently, FELTPs have been implemented in several African countries as a strategy to create a public health workforce that could holistically operate surveillance and response systems for different infectious diseases.
The Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (NFELTP), was established in October 2008 to develop a self-sustaining institutionalized capacity to train public health leaders in field epidemiology and field-oriented public health laboratory practice and to provide epidemiological services to the public health system at federal, state, and local levels. NFELTP is a collaborative effort between the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development(FMARD), University of Ibadan, Ahmadu Bello University and the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET). The program is supported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“NFELTP works with Ministries of Health and Ministries of Agriculture at the Federal and State levels to develop public health capacity, strengthen health systems and respond to disease epidemics and other priority public health problems in the country”
In a bid to create a platform for epidemiologists and public health physicians to share their scientific works with the larger public health audience, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (NFELTP) is organizing her 3rd annual scientific conference in Abuja 4th – 6th September 2018. The Conference will be held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
The theme of the conference is “Strengthening Health Security Through Field Epidemiology”. “This conference is to evaluate where we are with the opportunities we have in defending ourselves, what the future holds…” NCDC CEO, Dr. Chikwe points out the rationale for this year’s conference theme.
The conference will give field epidemiologists an opportunity to share their professional work with the wider public health audience. “NFELTP residents, graduates and other public health experts will highlight findings from their applied epidemiology field activity projects which include outbreak investigation, surveillance, secondary data analysis and planned protocol-based studies. This will emphasize the applied nature of training towards using field epidemiology to solve pertinent public health issues.
Online registration is closed!…. You can register at the conference venue. (Kindly note that the conference fee is ten thousand naira (10,000) for participants who are not Residents and five thousand naira (5,000) for Residents without presentations.)
Article culled from HERE