Uruguay Field Epidemiology Training Program

Program overview

The Uruguay field epidemiology training program was initiated in 2017, promoted and supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Network (TEPHINET). Four cohorts of the basic level were completed covering most of the country's departments. The cohorts were aimed at epidemiology staff from the central and departmental levels and from public and private providers. The tutors for the program were selected together with the Epidemiology Division Directorate, and the criteria used for their selection included academic training in epidemiology, field work experience and teaching experience.


A review revealed the current weaknesses of the national surveillance system and the lack of information and training of staff from the health institutions. The experience brought the surveillance staff closer to the institutions and raised their interest in improving institutional surveillance strategies.

By defining its strengths and weaknesses, the review provided the system with the necessary evidence for the implementation of improvements. The participants' interventions in the institutions enhanced the importance of surveillance and contributed to elevate it to the attention of management.

The reports presented generated actions that were prioritized by the administration, among these:

  • the implementation of a decentralization plan for the care of people with tuberculosis in two departments of the country
  • the definition of anti-hepatitis A vaccination, and 
  • modifications in the surveillance strategy for some diseases.

Fieldwork was considered a program strength. The review highlighted both the tutors' and participants' involvement with its implementation and their commitment to achieving good results.