Bangladesh Field Epidemiology Training Program

Program overview

FETP Bangladesh (FETP, B) is a two-year training program in field epidemiology and a collaborative initiative between the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) in Dhaka and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The program began in 2013 and is supervised by a steering committee headed by the Secretary of Health of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The FETP, B trainees are selected objectively by their performance. Selection initially focused on government physicians and later included veterinarians. The program provides both basic-level field epidemiology Frontline training and two-year Advanced training to chosen fellows with the goal of training and sustaining a highly skilled public health workforce in Bangladesh. Trainees spend 20 percent of their time in a classroom and 80 percent in field placement. The FETP, B program is affiliated with University of Dhaka to confer a master's of applied epidemiology degree upon completion of FETP, B.

Services provided by the trainees include outbreak investigation, strengthening surveillance systems through evaluations and managing ongoing or new systems, providing evidence for data-driven public health decisions, consulting on epidemiologic methods and training in surveillance and outbreak response for community health workers.

About 90 percent (twelve out of thirteen) of graduates from cohorts one and two continue to work at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare following completion of FETP, B. The graduates are also becoming future FETP, B mentors and program managers, and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare epidemiology experts.

Achievements

As of 2019, 15 residents (13 doctors and 2 veterinarians) have graduated through the first three cohorts of FETP, B’s advanced level training and 133 doctors and veterinarians have completed its two-month FETP Frontline course in seven groups.

Fellows have conducted more than 100 outbreak investigations as lead investigator which includes Diarrhea, measles, Japanese Encephalitis, Swine Flu, ARI, Anthrax , Nipah, Influenza, Chikungunya and mass psychogenic illness.

The graduates of the FETP, B program are involved in strengthening response to public health incidents in the country with enhanced scientific basis for program and policy decisions. They are helpful in strengthening the disease surveillance system with enhanced communication of epidemiologic information. The Bangladesh public health system is benefited by FETP, B graduates with greater core capacity to meet surveillance and response requirements under the World Health Organization’s revised International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005). The graduated fellows from first 3 cohorts are also mentoring cohort 4 and 5 fellows.

FETP, B fellows participated in various international conferences including TEPHINET global and regional conferences. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, consecutively, 3 FETP, B fellows were awarded TEPHINET non-communicable disease mini-grants.