In January 2010, the West Africa Field Epidemiology Training Program began, covering four West African countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Togo). In January 2014, the program was extended to cover eight Francophone West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo). In 2018, the program--now called the Burkina Faso Field Epidemiology Training Program--was extended to cover Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) countries such as Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde.
The program trains professionals in human and animal health. In total, 40 residents from the participating countries have graduated and are currently working within their home countries.
Despite the logistical challenges present in running a regional FETP, the 2015-2017 program proved that it can be done. Coordinating the training of 28 participants across eight countries was a major accomplishment. The program distinguished itself by supporting more than 30 outbreak responses including several multi-country investigations. This was done by working closely with the representatives in the affected country with monetary support from the FETP. The program initiated the response and help residents travel within a day or two of notification. The program continued its activities despite two major disruptions and also evacuated all of the participants from Burkina Faso during the violent demonstrations in September 2015. Training resumed the following month in Senegal. Finally, the program ensured the graduation of the trainees and overcame the uncertainty following the retirement of the Program Director in April 2017. The team worked closely with the University and the incoming Program Director to make sure that the thesis defenses for participants were conducted and that graduation was scheduled on time.
The FETP had 19 projects accepted to AFENET and nine accepted to the TEPHINET bi-annual conferences. One resident was accepted to FETP International Night at the EIS Conference in 2017. In addition, participants were awarded six mini-grants to study non-communicable diseases. Finally, the program contributed to several activities in country outside of their individual deliverables and outbreaks. These included: