Morocco Field Epidemiology Training Program
In December 2010, the National Institute of Health Administration of Morocco (now the National School of Public Health) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established a cooperative agreement aimed at developing diverse activities related to the establishment of the Morocco FETP. The FETP model was thus applied to the training cycle in health administration called, "Epidémiologie en Santé Publique" (ESP), or “Epidemiology in Public Health,” which has now become the FETP/ESP. The curriculum of the cycle has been gradually adapted to fulfill the FETP criteria by expanding the field component of the training, hence reducing the time spent in class.
The FETP/ESP aims to produce highly qualified field epidemiologists who, during the two-year training, acquire competencies in epidemiological surveillance, data surveillance analysis aimed at providing evidence for decision-making, as well as at strengthening the outbreak investigation capacity of the country and the use of applied research in public health. Key partners in developing and sustaining the FETP/ESP are the Ministry of Health (e.g., the National School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Disease Control, and several other Ministry of Health services and directorates) in collaboration with the CDC as well as occasional collaboration with other international organizations and institutions.
The theoretical component of the training is concentrated in the beginning of the program. Following its completion, the residents are assigned to identify training sites within the structures of the Ministry of Health at national, regional or local levels. They are supervised by the staff of the National School of Public Health, senior epidemiologists of the Ministry of Health, and by a full-time senior epidemiologist, the Resident Advisor of the FETP.
Since its establishment, the FETP has graduated six cohorts with a total of 76 professionals from the advanced programs and 30 at the basic or Frontline level (known as the Public Health Empowerment Program-Basic Field Epidemiology, or PHEP-BFE). In addition, through four training workshops on biosafety and biosecurity, more than 130 public health professionals, epidemiologists, clinicians, veterinarians, and biologists from animal and human health sectors have been trained on the identification, characterization, evaluation and mitigation of biorisk within a global perspective on biological risk management in the laboratory and in the field.
- The TEPHINET Global Accrediting Body has determined that the program has met all indicators and standards for accreditation and has granted accreditation status to the program at the 10th TEPHINETGlobal Scientific Conference in Atlanta in 2019.
- The program has introduced the learning-through-service concept in training based in the field.
- The program has involved major collaborators in-country and internationally in strengthening the workforce and introducing a new approach, based in fieldwork, to epidemiology in public health.
- FETP graduates have fully been integrated into the public health system after completion of their training and are able to apply their newly acquired skills. They work at national, regional and provincial levels within Ministry of Health structures and play an important role in the development and follow-up of work projects with international institutions and provide evidence for decision-making.
- The FETP is highly valued in the Ministry of Health and acknowledged as an excellent source of professionals in this time of further consolidation and reform of the public system in the country.
- In 2019, the FETP conducted 13 outbreak investigations in the field, including legionellosis, acute flaccid paralysis, hepatitis A, bacterial meningitis, organophosphate intoxication, food intoxication, and chichaoua smut.
- As of September 2020, FETP trainees and graduates have given 10 oral presentations and 9 poster presentations at scientific conferences.
- FETP residents and graduates have presented at a number of scientific conferences, including:
- Dr. Mouad Merabet, a fourth cohort graduate of FETP Morocco, participated in the 9th TEPHINET Scientific Conference held in Chang Mai, Thailand in 2017.
- Seventeen abstracts by FETP residents and graduates were accepted for the Mediterranean Programme for Intervention for Epidemiology Training (MediPIET) Annual Scientific Conference held in Brussels, Belgium in 2017.
- Six Morocco FETP residents and graduates were invited to participate in a review module for the Annual Scientific Conference.
- Dr. Mariama Bahalou, a fourth cohort graduate of FETP Morocco, participated at the ADELF conference, where five abstracts by FETP residents and graduates were accepted.
- Sixteen abstracts by FETP residents and graduates were also accepted for the sixth regional Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET) conference held in Amman, Jordan in 2018.
- One abstract was accepted as an oral presentation at FETP International Night in 2018.
- 15 abstracts, 11 oral and 4 poster, have been presented at scientific conferences as of 2019.
- Five FETP investigations have been published in or submited to scientific journals:
- Evaluation of the Meningitis Surveillance System in Meknes, Morocco (Touria Essayagh et al, 2018)
- Foodborne Outbreak, Meknes, Morocco, June 2017: What We Need to Learn (Touria Essayagh et al, 2017)
- An Outbreak of Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis Cases Amongst the Same Family Living in a Rural Area in Morocco, July 2017: A Teaching Case Study (Ilham Dahbi et al, 2020)
- Evaluation of the Yield of Histopathology in the Diagnosis of Lymph Node Tuberculosis in Morocco, 2017: Cross-sectional Study (Kenza Bennani et al, 2019)
- Epidemiological Profile of Viral Hepatitis A in Meknes and Its Preventive Risk Factors (Touria Essayagh et al, 2019) (submitted in 2019)