Q&A with the Winner of the 2019 FETP International Night Photo Contest

Beyond data and figures, the work of field epidemiologists is often deeply human-driven, making it a compelling subject to illustrate through photography. Images help tell the story of the impact field epidemiologists have on the health of people around the world and also help explain their work to unfamiliar audiences. To this end, TEPHINET organizes field epidemiology photo contests in conjunction with our global and regional scientific conferences and co-sponsors (with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]) a photo contest for the FETP International Night event held during the annual EIS Conference in Atlanta.

We received 103 submissions from 23 countries for the 2019 FETP International Night Photo Contest. All contest entrants also submitted scientific abstracts in consideration for presentation at the event. A panel of judges from TEPHINET and the CDC scored the submissions to determine the top three winners. The photo receiving the highest total score across several criteria was announced at the event as the first place winner, and the photos with the second and third highest scores were announced as the second and third place winners.

The first place winner, shown above, was taken in Asaingbene, a hard-to-reach riverine community in the Yenagoa Local Government Area in Bayelsa State in Nigeria in April 2018. Numbere’s team administered the oral polio vaccine to a child, supported by his mother, as part of the activities during the April 2018 round of the National Immunization Plus Days. Below is a Q&A with the photo submitter, Tamuno-Wari Numbere.

Q&A with Tamuno-Wari Numbere

Since polio is still endemic in Nigeria, please describe briefly how the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) is working to eradicate it and how you have been involved.

As Nigeria works hard to achieve polio eradication, a multi-partner approach has been a vital strategy. The National Stop Transmission of Polio (N-STOP) program collaborates with the Nigeria FELTP by training and working with residents and graduates of the program, constituting the key workforce of the management support teams (MSTs). These MSTs are deployed to the field to provide management and technical oversight of key activities during supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) to ensure high quality polio campaigns. One of the specific objectives of the teams is to increase access to hard-to-reach, underserved or insecure settlements, and this means that we go where others are unwilling to go to ensure that every eligible child is immunized against polio. As a trained resident, I have supervised SIAs in rural, hard-to-reach communities in the South-South and Northern regions of Nigeria.

What was the inspiration behind this photo?

We traveled to this community by canoe, paddling for 45 minutes! Getting there, seeing this eligible child by the side of the river, and a mother who was willing for her child to receive the polio vaccine gave me a sense of fulfillment. It was worth it!

What was this photo trying to capture?

This photo captured the administration of the oral polio vaccine to a child under five years, supported by his mother, under my supervision.

What do you hope the viewer feels or thinks while looking at this photo?

I hope that the viewer feels that Nigeria is working hard to ensure that polio is eradicated. I hope the viewer feels inspired to go the extra mile despite the numerous challenges facing the health system.

What is your favorite aspect of this photo?

First, the willingness of the mother to let her child receive the vaccine. Secondly, the river because it serves as a reminder that there are still many communities with poor access to healthcare services.