Africa Region

AFENET: African Field Epidemiology Network  website

Network Established in 2006

Activities From the Field - African Region
by Dr. Reginald Matchaba-Hove

 
 
In 1994, with the assistance of the Rockefeller Foundation, Ghana, Uganda, and Zimbabwe established field epidemiology training programs, according to a model referred to as public health schools without walls. Approximately 70 trainees are expected to graduate from these programs in 2005, with their masters of public health degrees.
 
Kenya’s filed epidemiology and laboratory program was established in 2004.The organizers of the Kenyan program have included laboratory management as part of the core competencies – something which can serve as a model to others.
 
Program trainees have served on teams that have responded to outbreaks, where the interventions have thwarted epidemics. Improvements in policies and practices are adopted as a direct result of recommendations following these interventions, to prevent recurrence. Recent examples include recommendations which were made as a result of the following investigations:
  • Students of the University of Zimbabwe’s Master of Public Health program
    • Carried out a study of factors associated with occupational injuries among workers in the cleansing section of Bulawayo City, Zimbabwe (2001-02)
    • Conducted a study of the factors influencing women’s participation in cervical cancer screening using visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid in Mutoko District in Mashonaland East province, Zimbabwe (undated)
    • Identified the risk factors associated with contracting cholera in Zaka District Masvingo, Zimbabwe 2002
       
  • Students of Makerere University’s (Uganda) Master of Public Health program
    • Studied the management of simple malaria in children below five years by private practitioners in Jinja district Uganda (2003)
    • Conducted a study of the willingness and capacity of private health practitioners to provide DOT course in Kampala district Uganda (2004) 
Research and investigations conducted by FETP trainees contribute to the general understanding of the epidemiology of certain diseases and conditions, methods of combating epidemics and so forth. Recent examples include knowledge gained from the following studies and investigations:
  • In 2002, students of the University of Zimbabwe’s Master of Public Health program conducted a study of the factors associated with contracting sexually transmitted infections among Kuwadzana clinc attendees (2002)
     
  • Students of Makerere University’s (Uganda) Master of Public Health program
    • identified factors influencing utilization of voluntary HIV counseling and testing services by pregnant mothers in Kawempe Division, Kampala District, Uganda (undated)
    • conducted a study of the effects of school feeding programs on Nutritional Status of Pupils attending primary day schools in Jinja District, Uganda (2004)
    • identified the risk factors for severe malaria in children under five years in Kanunga District, Southwestern Uganda (2004)
       
  • Trainees of Kenya’s Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program
    • Conducted a study of seat belt use in Nairobi Kenya (2004)
    • Did an investigation of an Aflatoxin poisoning outbreak in Kenya (2004)
       
  • Students of the University of Ghana’ Master of Public Health program conducted a study of the risk factors for neonatal tetanus in Busoga region, Ghana (2004) 
Program trainees have contributed a great deal to the improvement of surveillance systems within their countries. Recent examples include improvements resulting from the following studies and investigations:
In 2002, students of the University of Zimbabwe’s Master of Public Health program studied the effectiveness of the TB contact tracing in Mbare Suburb of Harare City, Zimbabwe

 


Dr. Reginald Matchaba-Hove
 

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