9th Southeast Asia & Western Pacific Bi-regional TEPHINET Scientific Conference

Conference Highlights


From November 5 to 9, 2018, more than 250 field epidemiologists and public health experts from the Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions convened in Vientiane, Laos (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) for the 9th TEPHINET Bi-regional Scientific Conference. Organized by TEPHINET, the South Asia Field Epidemiology and Technology Network (SAFETYNET), and the Lao Ministry of Health and Field Epidemiology Training Program, this event included six pre-conference workshops, 143 oral and poster presentations by FETP trainees and graduates, and 11 plenary sessions featuring topics of current importance to public health experts in the regions. The conference sessions revolved around the theme, “Investing in field epidemiology training programs in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals.”


The six pre-conference workshops addressed the following topics:

  • Measuring the impact of Sustainable Development Goal 3, Non-communicable Disease Target: Planning a Cardiovascular Health Investigation
  • Public Health Problem Analysis and Action Planning
  • Scientific Writing
  • TEPHIConnect (TEPHINET’s FETP Alumni Network) and FETP Alumni Engagement
  • Finding Our Way through the Data Forest: How Advances in Data Analytics Can Strengthen Operational Responses and How the FETPs Could Lead in This Joint Effort
  • Translating Research Into Policy Recommendations

Plenary Sessions

Plenary topics included the following:

  • Polio eradication: STOP (Stop Transmission of Polio), the response of the Lao FETP to a vaccine-derived poliovirus outbreak, and the response of the Papua New Guinea FETP to a polio outbreak this year
  • One Health collaboration
  • A pilot surveillance study on extended spectrum beta lactamase-producing E. coli in the Philippines
  • Veterinary epidemiology training (FETP-V)
  • The role of supervisors or mentors in field epidemiology training
  • Australia’s Health Security Initiative
  • The role of epidemiologists during natural disasters and health emergencies
  • Joint External Evaluation (JEE) results for countries in the Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions
  • Overview of the Lao Field Epidemiology Training Program
  • Capacity strengthening for health security in the Pacific through Strengthening Health Interventions in the Pacific (SHIP)
  • Investing in and institutionalizing FETPs

Abstract Presentations

Download the abstract book (see below) to read about the FETP investigations presented during this conference. The conference accepted a total of 143 abstracts for presentation by FETP trainees and graduates (100 oral, 40 poster, and 3 late-breaking oral presentations).

Presentations were judged by subject matter experts during the conference. Congratulations to our winners:

Poster Presentation Winners

3rd place (tie):

  • A Cohort Study of a Capillariasis Outbreak in a Rural village, Mindanao, Philippines, 2017 – Mr. Jasper Kent Ola (Philippines)
  • Acute Gastroenteritis Outbreak in the District of Pusa, Betong, Sarawak, 2017 – Dr. Ai Chia Ho (Malaysia)

2nd place:

  • Public Health Response to a Poultry Outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1) in Kelantan, 2017 – Dr. Suhaiza Sulaiman (Malaysia)

1st place:

  • Public Health Response to the Avian Influenza Outbreak Among Poultry – Pampanga and Nueva Ecija, Philippines, August – September 2017 – Ms. Denisse Lou Manalili (Philippines)

Oral Presentation Winners

3rd place:

  • Outbreak Investigation of Re-Emerging Diphtheria Infection, Telangana state, India, 2017 – Dr. Kiran Kumar Maramraj (India)

2nd place:

  • A Pertussis Outbreak among Adolescents, Thailand, 2018: From Home to School – Dr. Nichakul Pisitpayat (Thailand)

1st place:

  • Enhancing preparedness against imported infectious diseases for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games – Dr. Chiaki Kawakami (Japan)

Photo Contest

In the tradition of other TEPHINET conferences, TEPHINET held a photo contest for authors who submitted abstracts for presentation. The goal of TEPHINET’s photo contests is to increase the visibility and convey the value of the work of FETPs through the visually compelling medium of photography. TEPHINET received 55 photographs; the top 20 (as judged by TEPHINET) were displayed during the conference for a vote by attendees. The winners were (see below for the photos):

  • 1st place: Meliana Depo, Indonesia FETP - “Investigation of foodborne illness cases in an Orphanage in Gunung Kidul District Indonesia, April 2017”
  • 2nd place: Nguyen Thi Bich Hue, Viet Nam FETP: “Spray disinfection prevention in shelters in Neisseria meningitidis investigation in Ba Vi district, Hanoi city in April 2018”
  • 3rd place: Buntha So, Cambodia AET (Applied Epidemiology Training) program: “Risk communication and distributed key messages on food safety at the pagoda on August 30, 2016”

View all 55 photo contest entries.


TEPHINET extends its deepest appreciation to our co-sponsors for this event:

South Asia Field Epidemiology and Technology Network (SAFETYNET)

Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, DFAT, Australia

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization (WHO) Lao Country Office and Western Pacific Regional Office

Next Bi-regional Conference

The 10th Southeast Asia and Western Pacific Bi-regional TEPHINET Scientific Conference will be hosted by the Taiwan FETP in 2020.


Don Chan Palace Hotel and Convention

Program and Book of Abstracts