Cameroon Field Epidemiology Training Program

Program overview

Since 2010, the Cameroon Field Epidemiology Training Program (CAFETP) has been implemented by the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Higher Education through Buea University with technical support from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CAFETP is a national FETP program with regional reach, meaning that the Minister of Public Health from Cameroon has invited the Ministries of Health from the Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad to participate in the advanced FETP training. From 2010 to 2015, the program was known as the Central African Field Epidemiology and Lab Management Training Program (CA-FELTP) and was part of the Strengthening Surveillance and Response in Central Africa (SURVAC) program, which was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and focused on strengthening surveillance in Central Africa. Over a period of five years, CA-FELTP trained 52 medical doctors, veterinarians, and laboratory technicians from Cameroon, DRC, and CAR. In 2015, CA-FELTP became the Cameroon Field Epidemiology Training Program (CAFETP). This program is funded by the United States government through the CDC and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). It is therefore a collaboration between the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Higher Education (through the University of Buea), and the CDC. Housed within the Ministry of Health, CAFETP is directed by the Director of the Division of Disease Prevention (DLMEP). The CDC resident advisor works directly with the program director to implement all CAFETP activities. Under the leadership of the Ministry, CAFETP is further supported by a technical committee which meets each first Tuesday of the month and a steering committee which meets once a year.

Achievements

FETP residents serve a vital role in helping their country improve disease surveillance and response and develop a stronger public health system that provides more accurate burden of disease estimates, which are then used for health planning and interventions. They also help by substantially decreasing the response time after an outbreak alert. In addition to the advanced FETP program, an FETP Frontline (basic training) was also implemented in Cameroon. A total of 341 individuals from the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries, Ministry of Justice, and Ministry of Defense were trained from 2016 to 2017. The programs aim to train all staff members of these organizations at both the regional and district level, as well as employees at big hospitals involved in surveillance, by the end of 2019. Graduates of the advanced program are leading this effort. Additional training is also provided one year after completion of the program in order to either review information or obtain specific training in scientific writing and QGIS.