The Afghanistan FETP (AFETP) is an intermediate-level, one-year national training program that was established in late 2018 and officially launched its first cohort in the beginning of 2019 with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Atlanta) and Global Health Development and the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (GHD/EMPHNET). Prior to its establishment, 16 health professionals from Afghanistan were FETP-trained, including three by the Pakistan FELTP and 13 by the formerly active Afghan-Tajik FETP (including one veterinarian). The AFETP is functional and accommodated within the Afghanistan National Public Health Institute (ANPHI), which is a General Directorate under the structure of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). The main purpose of the program is to build the capacity of MoPH health professionals to detect, investigate and respond to infectious diseases and public health emergencies and to support the design and implementation of epidemiological projects. The program is led by a steering committee consisting of experts and authorities from the MoPH.
Before the launch of the first cohort, a mentors’ workshop was conducted in Amman, Jordan in January 2019 through coordination with CDC and GHD/EMPHNET. Later, a second mentors’ workshop was conducted within country and 15 mentors were trained. Both workshops were very instrumental to supporting the program technically. In February 2019, a screening workshop was conducted in Kabul, Afghanistan, in which 30 out of 41 volunteers were selected as residents of the first cohort by a steering committee and stakeholders. They have completed all five workshops, fieldwork, and a group project thus far. The first cohort launched in February 2019 and 30 health workers graduated in February 2020.
Selection of the second AFETP cohort began and was finalized in the first quarter of 2020. Since then, the cohort’s 24 residents have completed all five workshops and group projects. The second cohort launched in August 2020 and graduated in November 2021. National experts facilitated and supported all workshops and fieldwork. Our AFETP family has submitted a great number of abstracts to national and international conferences, some of which have been approved and presented. The AFETP has been an active member of TEPHINET since October 2020. The program is mostly managed by a technical advisor, technical coordinator, and an admin officer, who were recruited and deployed in ANPHI by GHD/EMPHNET.