Iraq Field Epidemiology Training Program

Program overview

The advanced Iraq FETP is a two-year program for accepted physicians working in the Ministry of Health (MOH) from all Iraqi governorates. Residents spend about three months in the department of Community and Family Medicine within the Baghdad College of Medicine, receiving didactic courses in the FETP core competencies. Residents spend the following ten weeks in 10 public health units and programs to acquaint themselves with the public health work run by the MOH. Each resident then spends nine months working in one public health program at the central level, followed by nine months at the governorate level. During this time, the residents investigate outbreaks reported to public health authorities, participate in surveys, conduct training activities and other field activities run by the MOH, and attend workshops and conferences at the national, regional and international levels. In the last month of the two-year period, the residents take an exam and present their dissertations for debate. After successfully fulfilling the requirements, the residents are awarded the degree of High Diploma in Field Epidemiology, which is equivalent to a master’s degree. Beside the significant financial benefit, the degree helps the graduate earn a better post at the MOH.


All of the program's graduates except one are currently working in the MOH in the public health arena, and many of them are leading public health work in their governorates. Since its inception, I-FETP has investigated more than 60 outbreaks of different communicable, non-communicable, environmental, and occupational incidents. All residents have participated in different surveys run by the MOH with other UN agencies, particularly the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Since each resident is required to complete at least two protocol-based projects during residency, more than 90 projects were completed. The topics covered a very wide range of public health topics and were selected based on MOH needs. With the support of Iraq MOH, CDC, Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET), Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET), Biological Engagment Programs (BEP), Cooperative Biological Engagement Programs (CBEP), WHO and UNICEF, several workshops and conferences in and outside Iraq were convened and hosted more than 160 residents, graduates, and other public health officers from the MOH. I-FETP has also trained about 50 public health officers from the MOH and academia to be mentors for the residents. I-FETP led a Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) Elimination campaign that resulted in the declaration that Iraq as a country had eliminated MNT and highlighted the Mass Gathering (MG) in Iraq as an important national, regional, and the global public health subject that deserved thorough evaluation.