Regional Field Epidemiology Training Program for Veterinarians (Southeast Asia)
The Regional Field Epidemiology Training Program for Veterinarians (R-FETPV) in Thailand was developed in response to the avian influenza crisis in Thailand in 2004. The program was developed through close consultation with the Thailand Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP), veterinary experts from the Department of Livestock Development, various universities, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for the most effective application of the FETP concept of "learning through providing services". The training provides a short course to ensure that trainees understand basic technical knowledge and are able to effectively apply it to their work.
Since 2009, the R-FETPV has been offered to veterinarians from several countries in the region. During the program, public and animal health professionals are trained and work together to respond to any possible zoonotic outbreaks. During this training period, information and experience-sharing among trainees of different professions and their organizations are strengthened.
The two-year R-FETPV long-term training has been adjusted to a progressive, three-module course. This new, revised R-FETPV curriculum started in June 2013. Continuance to the following training module depends on successful completion of each module, so trainees can progress from basic, to intermediate, and then to advanced stages to complete the three-module R-FETPV.
The R-FETPV has been formally recognized by ASEAN as a regional platform to strengthen field epidemiology capacity among the ten ASEAN member states. R-FETPV also contributes to the realization of various strategic objectives of the 2013 Regional Strategic Framework for Veterinary Epidemiology Capacity Development and Networking in ASEAN.
Currently, R-FETPV is the only regional training program for veterinary epidemiology. The concept of FETPV has been applied in some countries, such as China, India, and Indonesia. This regional initiative has not been officially recognized yet in order for further resources and professional collaborations to be established.
More than the direct achievement of the number of trainees recruited by the program is the indirect achievement of veterinarians and physicians who have shared their experiences, work, and expertise collaboratively to solve animal and human health problems. They are trained to understand both animal and public health service systems.
Since the beginning of R-FETPV, a number of collaborative health situation analyses, outbreak responses, and field epidemiological studies of both human and animal health problems have been conducted. These include human leptospirosis, human streptococcosis caused by S. suis type II from pigs, human and animal brucellosis caused by Brucella melitensis and B. suis, human and animal rabies, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) in pigs, zoonotic influenza A in humans and animals, and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in pigs and farm workers.
Several collaborative health situation analyses, surveillance activities, outbreak responses and field epidemiological studies of zoonoses and non-zoonoses were conducted and reported by current R-FETPV trainees alumni, and short course alumni under the supervision of R-FETPV mentors.
To ensure that the R-FETPV continues to deliver a world class program, it was agreed upon in March 2020 that a new strategic plan for R-FETPV needed to be developed. The plan establishes a framework of priority activities for implementation over the next five years. The plan is aspirational and is intended to harness collaboration and support from national and international partners.