In June 2013, the Ministry of Health (MoH) requested for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assist in establishing the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) – Frontline in Malawi. A team from CDC conducted a pre-assessment for the proposed Malawi FETP in October 2013 and did an assessment visit in February 2014. This led to recommendations made for the implementation of FETP under a three-tiered program (basic, intermediate, and advanced). A three-day workshop was held in November 2015, and it was agreed that FETP-Frontline implementation in Malawi would be initiated in April 2016. FETP-Frontline was implemented with the intention that it will be an ongoing training program within the Public Health Institute of Malawi (PHIM) with the goal of training public health staff in surveillance.
Since its launch in April 2016, a total of 47 trainees have graduated from the Malawi FETP-Frontline course. The program has also recruited six national mentors. The Malawi FETP-Frontline program has conducted frontline courses in five districts located in all three regions of the country (Northern, Central, and Southern). All cohorts have included at least one trainee from the Department of Animal Health to embrace the One Health approach. Our trainees and graduates have been involved in the investigation of different disease outbreaks, including cholera and typhoid. Some graduates have even been promoted to high responsibility positions at the MoH.