Brazil Field Epidemiology Training Program

Program overview

An outbreak of poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis occurred in 1998 in the state of Minas Gerais in the southeastern region of Brazil. At that time, there was no team of epidemiologists at the Ministry of Health exclusively for the investigation of outbreaks. The Ministry of Health requested support from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which promptly made available a team of researchers from the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS). In a short time, the outbreak of poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis was elucidated, being attributed to the consumption of unpasteurized milk and cheese. This event evidenced the need to incorporate training in field epidemiology in the country. Thus, a cooperative agreement with the CDC allowed the implementation of the Brazil Field Epidemiology Training Program (Brazil FETP) in the year 2000, named Training Program in Epidemiology Applied to Services of the Single Health System (abbreviated as EpiSUS).

Since then, 14 EpiSUS-Advanced classes have been completed totaling 139 graduated health professionals and more than 336 field investigations in all Brazilian states. Currently, a group of 13 professionals in training is in progress and a new class is in the process of selection.

In 2017, motivated by the emergence of the Zika virus and its consequences, the pyramidal training strategy was implemented and basic-level training was incorporated into the Brazil FETP and named EpiSUS-Fundamental. Beginning in three Brazilian states, today EpiSUS-Fundamental is offered in every state and has already trained 858 professionals as of April 2019.

To strengthen the field epidemiology training network, EpiSUS trained its the first trainee from Guinea-Bissau who graduated in May, 2019. Additionally, in 2018, EpiSUS received two more trainees from Guinea-Bissau who are set to complete their training in 2020.