Perspective of a COVID-19 Responder: Jean Claude Niyoyita, Rwandan Field Epidemiologist

“The Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) provided a useful and complete package with adequate skills and knowledge for epidemic surveillance, investigation, and response. During the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, as well as in Rwanda, FELTP alumni and residents stand up to provide their support in fighting the disease.
As FELTP alumni with laboratory background, we used the skills and knowledge gained during the training program. As a simple example, I recalled what we learned about the role of laboratory in outbreak investigation, surveillance, and response to deal with COVID-19. Upon being integrated in the COVID-19 response team in charge of laboratory sample collection, packaging and transportation, in reference to knowledge and skills acquired during FELTP, we trained the laboratory staff on sample collection, packing, and transportation to ensure staff safety and accurate and timely results.
More importantly, FELTP assured my confidence in epidemic prevention and control; thus, we are feeling strong against COVID-19. We all know that health providers mostly are exposed and at high risk during epidemics or pandemics like COVID-19, but as field epidemiologists, we are not scared as long as we are protecting and saving humanity. Therefore, we stand firm against COVID-19 and any epidemic that will arise.
Salute to all field epidemiologists all over the world that are risking their lives to save humanity.”