Lao FET is a one-year program that was established in February, 2009 by the Department of Communicable Diseases Control (DCDC) and the National Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology (NCLE) of the Ministry of Health. The program is supported by the Influenza Division of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and the World Health Organization (WHO). Each year, eight trainees are selected from multiple sectors including human health, animal health, defense and public security to promote the One Health approach. The program aims to strengthen the epidemiological capacity of the health workforce in the country to detect, assess and respond to acute public health events.
There is a competent workforce for public health surveillance at national and provincial levels due to the Lao FET, based on the results of the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) for the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005). Lao FET trainees and alumni are rapidly deployed during outbreaks and public health emergencies for example, circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus, dengue and measles outbreaks and following flooding in Attapeu. Lao FET trainees and alumni also support the functioning of the surveillance system and conduct risk assessments to guide response. Operational research from FET trainees has resulted in changes in policy including the introduction of vaccines into the National Immunization Schedule. To date, Lao People's Democratic Republic has 79 FET alumni covering all 18 provinces in the country.