Turkey Field Epidemiology Training Program Hosts Its 4th National Field Epidemiology Conference

Tina Rezvani

From June 24-25, 2019, the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) of Turkey hosted its 4th National Field Epidemiology Conference in Ankara. The goal of these national conferences is to enhance knowledge and foster collaboration among attendees. This conference also served as the official launching point for a new health security project in Turkey funded by the European Union and the World Health Organization (WHO). This is a three-year initiative aiming to strengthen health security and field epidemiology capacity in Turkey.

The event opened with remarks from the General Director of the General Directorate of Public Health as well as the Deputy Minister of the Turkey Ministry of Health. Dr. Angela Hilmers, TEPHINET’s Senior Associate Director of Science, was in attendance and presented to participants on global initiatives led by TEPHINET to support competent workforce capacity building. Other international organizations attending this event were the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET), and a delegation from the European Union.

The conference featured presentations by FETP Turkey fellows and graduates on topics including surveillance system implementation, food and waterborne outbreaks, outbreaks in schools and workplaces, and epidemiological surveillance research in the country.

Founded in 2012 by the Ministry of Health’s Public Health Institution of Turkey, FETP Turkey is a nationally certified training program. Since its inception, FETP Turkey fellows have investigated 65 outbreaks, produced 28 surveillance reports and 18 epidemiological studies, given 68 presentations (31 in international and 37 in national conferences), and conducted training for at least 400 surveillance staff in various provinces. FETP Turkey has produced 26 graduates to date and has 11 currently enrolled residents. The selection process for the program’s seventh cohort is ongoing.