Saturday, April 30, 2016

Vietnam - US helps Vietnam train field epidemiologists

A graduation ceremony for two classes of the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) was held within the framework of the fourth annual National Field Epidemiology Training Program Scientific Conference in Da Nang last week.

FETP in Vietnam is a two-year program led by the Ministry of Health's General Department of Preventive Medicine aimed at building trained epidemiologists who can rapidly respond to epidemics and other public health events, the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi said in a press release.

The program, supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network, and South Asia Field Epidemiology and Technology Network.

There are currently 22 field epidemiologists who have completed the program since FETP was established in Vietnam in 2009.

FETP fellows have contributed to public health in Vietnam through their involvement in outbreak responses such as cholera, avian and pandemic influenza, and hand foot and mouth disease.

During the program, fellows conduct independent research studies which are then used to inform timely and effective disease outbreak responses.

Research topics include zoonotic diseases transmitted from animals to humans, food-borne diseases, vaccine preventable diseases and immunization, HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases.

“FETP fellows are at the frontline of any strong public health system,” said Dr. Anthony Mounts, country director of the U.S. CDC in Vietnam. “When an outbreak occurs, such as in the recent Zika virus cases in Vietnam, they are the ‘disease detectives’ that go into the field and investigate the outbreak.”

“Through the program, they receive hands-on training and mentoring in the use of scientific approaches to identify causes and trends of public health issues,” Dr. Mounts said.

An induction of the seventh class of FETP fellows and the launch of an alumni network to strengthen information sharing and training of FETP alumni also took place alongside the graduation ceremony.

Organized by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health's General Department of Preventive Medicine, the three-day scientific conference starting on April 22 gathered over 100 public health leaders in Vietnam, including international participants from the U.S. CDC, WHO, and FETP fellows from Australia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

It also showcased over 35 public health research projects from national, regional, and provincial public health institutes in Vietnam.

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