Field Notes from FETPs Fighting COVID-19: July 2020

Haiti Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP)

In Haiti, 160 FETP graduates are involved in COVID-19 data reporting; 19 help with managing the national COVID-19 surveillance database; 45 are investigating suspected cases and collecting specimens, and 66 are involved in contact tracing and follow-up. FETP graduates have deployed to two international airports to screen passengers and are involved in strengthening surveillance at the Haiti-Dominican Republic border. Haitian FETP graduates have been involved in technical training for sample collection, analyzing samples, developing an RT-PCR test validation protocol, and implementing tests in regional and peripheral laboratories.


 

Taiwan Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP)

Taiwan's FETP trainees and alumni serve on the COVID-19 Rapid Response Team (RRT), which dispatches to the field within 12 hours to support case investigation and contact tracing. Each confirmed case is investigated within 24 hours. The FETP has been involved with 44 repatriation missions and has cooperated with countries including France and Italy to investigate cases among travelers returning to Taiwan. The FETP has also developed interim guidelines for clinical management of SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as infection prevention and control guidance for healthcare professionals. FETP trainees and alumni have appeared in local media to educate the public about COVID-19. In August, the FETP will hold a COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing training that will serve as the pilot for an intermediate-level FETP training module.


 

Afghanistan Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP)

In response to a request from the Ministry of Public Health, the Afghanistan FETP, housed within the Afghanistan National Public Health Institute, developed a Science, Epidemiology and Research (SER) Committee to fight COVID-19. The SER’s key responsibility is providing technical support to the Ministry on issues relevant to COVID-19. To date, in addition to making decisions on key health issues, including COVID-19 case management and the production of diagnostic kits, the SER has developed and submitted more than one dozen policy briefs on issues ranging from when and how to lift the COVID-19 lockdown to reducing the impact of COVID-19 on tuberculosis.  Across Afghanistan, FETP trainees and alumni are involved in COVID-19 surveillance, data management, risk communication, specimen collection, infection prevention and control training, and more.


 

Mozambique Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP)

Residents and graduates of the Mozambique FELTP are providing technical support to the Ministry of Health at the central and provincial levels. They are deploying to conduct local field investigations and risk assessments, working in the Emergency Operations Center and updating national guidelines related to COVID-19. In addition, they are developing study protocols on adherence to measures of social distancing, isolation and quarantine; serosurveillance for SARS-CoV-2 infection; and a survey to understand self-medication practices for preventing COVID-19.


 

Ghana Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP)

More than 120 residents, graduates, and staff of the Ghana FELTP currently are deployed to fight COVID-19 across all countries served by the program (Ghana, Guinea Bissau, The Gambia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone). Among their response activities, they are working hard to eliminate stigma against individuals with COVID-19 by conducting community sensitization activities through traditional media (radio and television), door-to-door education, training of community leaders, and message delivery in local languages through public address (PA) systems. Data collected by the FELTP in the field help to inform the president of the Republic of Ghana of the country’s epidemiological situation. An interactive dashboard in the president’s office displays real-time COVID-19 data collected and managed by the FELTP using the ArcGIS Collector and Survey 123 applications.


 

Cameroon Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP)

Cohort 7 FETP residents from Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and Chad, the three countries served by the Cameroon FETP, are actively involved in response activities against COVID-19 as investigators in Rapid Response Team units, contact tracers, data managers, and facilitators of trainings targeting health care providers and staff at various points of entry. FETP residents are active members of the Incident Management System at the National Public Health Emergency Operations Center in Yaoundé and at the regional level.

Recently, FETP residents also have been involved in several outbreak investigations unrelated to the novel coronavirus, including measles, monkeypox, and cholera.