COVID-19 Mini-grants Facilitate Capacity Building for South America FETPs

COVID-19 related projects are underway in five South American countries, made possible by mini-awards developed by the regional network of Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) in South America (REDSUR) in collaboration with TEPHINET and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

In the spirit of “learning by doing,” REDSUR proposed the project as an opportunity for FETP fellows and alumni to learn how to plan, prepare, and lead a project while addressing COVID-19 in their local context. The projects also equip fellows and alumni with the necessary tools to contribute to the COVID-19 response, as well as future outbreak responses, in their countries.

TEPHINET Consultant Dalva de Assis facilitated a workshop with all of the awardees, demonstrating how to plan, prepare, and execute a project. Awardees in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Paraguay began their projects in March and April of this year. Most projects are due to be completed in September 2022. 

Below are the awarded projects and the FETP fellows or alumni leading them.


  • Chronic dialysis treatment in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: experiences of those on hemodialysis in the central region of Argentina; led by Andrea Baldani
  • COVID-19 in populous neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, Argentina: public health actions and the organization of local care strategies; led by Pilar Barbeira
  • Epidemiological characterization of severe cases of COVID-19 in childhood and adolescence in Argentina; led by Maria Lucia Bartolemeu


  • Basic training in the R environment for data analysis as a tool for COVID-19 risk communication; led by Eucilene Santana


  • Toolkit for COVID-19 Risk Communication in the Emberá Katio Indigenous Community of the Cabildo Karagaby Del Alto Sinú, Department of Córdoba - Colombia; led by Estephannia Mora
  • Strengthening risk analysis technical capacity for COVID-19 response in the department of Norte de Santander, Colombia 2022; led by Heiddy Patricia Vargas 
  • Communication toolbox for self-care and prevention of COVID-19 - focused on Colombian public school students, 2022; led by Martha Lopez
  • Epidemiological characterization: Knowledge, attitudes, practices and beliefs about COVID-19 in the Arhuaca indigenous population, municipality of Pueblo Bello, 2022; led by Maria Jose Hinojosa and Ana Mindiola
  • Strengthening of the Risk Analysis Room for Covid-19 in the Department of Chocó-Colombia, 2022; led by Primi Cecilia Copete
  • Behavior of Diabetes mellitus and Hypertension during the COVID-19 pandemic in the municipality of Leticia – Amazonas, Colombia; led by Olga Bellido and Zanony Gonzalez
  • Morbidity Attended in Mental Health in Health Workers in a Territorial Entity in Colombia - 2022; led by Ximena Casto and Yury Silva


  • Community epidemiological surveillance methodology for the prevention and control of communicable diseases of epidemic risk (COVID-19), in two localities of the Provinces of Bolívar and Manabí, Ecuador, March to June 2022; led by Ximena Castillo
  • Characterization of the impact of COVID-19 on mental health in health workers in District 13D04 of the Zonal Coordination 4 Health, Manabí Province-Ecuador, during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020-2021; led by Rosalba Guerrero


  • Implementation of a pilot test of a COVID-19 contact tracing system in San Pedro, Paraguay; led by Lorena Romero
  • Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in two penitentiary institutions in Paraguay, from March - May 2022; led by Griselda Salcedo
  • Compliance with safe vaccination practices against COVID-19 in Central and in Asunción, Paraguay; led Adriana Benitez
  • Estimation of the years of potential life (YPLL) lost during the COVID-19 pandemic in a center specialized in respiratory infections in Asunción, Paraguay; led by Gustavo Gimenez
  • Socioeconomic and cultural factors that influence access to vaccines in areas with low coverage, both urban and rural. San Pedro - Paraguay, 2022; led by Rosa Galeano
  • Reasons for non-vaccination against COVID-19 within the context of the pandemic in residents of a vulnerable region. Canindeyú, Paraguay 2022; also led by Rosa Galeano
  • Epidemiological profile and excess mortality in indigenous populations between the first and second year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Paraguay; led by Sanda O'Campos