TEPHINET Celebrates World Refugee Day 2022

June 20 is #WorldRefugeeDay.

On June 20, we celebrate the strength and courage of refugees across the world on World Refugee Day. Over the past 25 years, TEPHINET and Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) have worked to support and improve the health of displaced people. From the Jordan FETP establishing a data collection and reporting system for Syrian refugee health care to the Somalia FETP addressing COVID-19 in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, the work of FETPs worldwide continues to positively impact the most vulnerable. 

A team in Debark, Ethiopia interviews IDPs to understand their health and nutrition needs. (November 2021, Yohannes Shimelis Masresha)

Stories from the Ethiopian Program

The Ethiopian Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (EFELTP) is a shining example of an FETP working to improve the health of IDPs. Field epidemiologist and EFELTP graduate Hika Wakjira Terfa took this photo during a study along the border of the Oromia region in 2019. The study process included interviewing internally displaced Oromo people, as seen in the photo, to understand their needs. As a follow-up to these interviews, a team of EFELTP residents then mobilized resources to meet the complex needs of this vulnerable population. The Oroma people make up a large percentage of IDPs in Ethiopia due to regional conflict, and the EFELTP frequently responds to ensure their well being. 

Ethiopian FELTP staff interview internally displaced Oromo people to hear their needs. (2019, Hika Wakjira Terfa)

Responding to the needs of internally displaced people is crucial all across Ethiopia. In the Amhara region in the north, war and violence have also displaced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. The Ethiopian FELTP cites that as of September 22, 2021, more than two million people were internally displaced and living in the Amhara region. Over 100,000 were in Debark, where essential health services and house-to-house clinical case management were available. Receiving health services is important – especially for groups such as pregnant women and children. Teams of local and international partners are engaged in ongoing efforts  to reintegrate IDPs into care they may have missed, work that is only made possible by strong collaborations among several agencies, including the Ethiopian FELTP. The below photos, shared by EFELTP resident Yohannes Shimelis Masresha, demonstrate how EFELTP has contributed to improving the health of IDPs.

As a field epidemiology resident, Yohannes Shimelis Masresha presents on the health and nutrition issues facing IDPs in Debark and participates in discussions with stakeholders on IDPs emergency response. (November 2021, Yohannes Shimelis Masresha)