Frontline Health Workers Boost Polio Surveillance Capacity in Pakistan
FELTP-Frontline has been going strong in Pakistan, where TEPHINET supports FELTP and N-STOP (National Stop Transmission of Polio) activities.
Growing out of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the need for field epidemiology capacity at all levels of the healthcare system, Frontline field epidemiology training programs are three-month programs targeting local staff to improve surveillance quality in their jurisdictions.
Starting with the third cohort, with funding from the CDC’s Global Immunization Division, all Frontline fellows in Pakistan have received special training on polio given the country’s ongoing push to eradicate the disease. So far in 2018, three cases of wild poliovirus have been reported in the country. While these three wild poliovirus cases are limited to one district, results from tests of sewage water samples collected from selected sites across Pakistan reveal that the wild polio virus continues to circulate across large parts of the country, particularly in key urban centers of Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta.
“The adoption of a polio-inclusive Frontline curriculum is a strong asset to surveillance throughout Pakistan,” says Khurram Butt, TEPHINET Project Management Team Lead.
In February of this year, a consultative meeting was held to devise a strategy for conducting FELTP-Frontline trainings in the provinces at the respective Directorate General of Health Services offices utilizing the Provincial Disease Surveillance and Response Units. Today, FELTP-Frontline has officially launched in all provinces in the country, with the eighth cohort completing its first workshop at the end of June. More than 200 Frontline workers have been trained to date.