Emergency Capacity Building Grants help FETPs respond to COVID-19

Since January 30, 2020, when the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), COVID-19 has changed and defined the work of Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) around the world. As the global pandemic rapidly evolved in the early months of 2020, TEPHINET developed and offered a new opportunity for FETPs called Emergency Capacity Building Grants (ECBGs), designed to help our member FETPs respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This project aligned with TEPHINET’s mission to develop, connect, and mobilize a global field epidemiology workforce to strengthen public health systems and advance global health security.

TEPHINET’s Accreditation and Mobilization teams, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), offered these grants with the goal of strengthening FETPs for COVID-19 response, and building capacity for future pandemics.

In the early months of the pandemic, when regular program activities were not possible, the TEPHINET team quickly pivoted to create this grant program supporting critical activities aligned with at least one of the ten pillars outlined in the COVID-19 Operational Planning Guidelines to Support County Preparedness and Response released by the World Health Organization (WHO). Many programs had already joined pandemic preparedness and response efforts by conducting health screenings, supporting quarantine activities, conducting surveillance and data analysis, and more.

Of the 21 FETPs who applied for assistance, 19 were awarded funding, totaling more than $380,000. Activities ranged from developing an online course that enabled health officials to train and increase their workforce capacity, to strengthening COVID-19 response capacities for surveillance, analysis, and contact tracing. Project goals and outcomes are further detailed in the final report, available for download below. 

The following photos were shared by FETP members to showcase their ECBG-related activities.