As a result of Yemen facing major health crises from insecurity and war, the country suffers from a critical shortage of skilled public health workers, especially epidemiologists. A recent Yemen health systems profile revealed a lack of basic data needed for planning, such as disease prevalence, regional variation, and epidemiological trends. Another major constraint has been the delayed response to outbreaks and epidemics facing the national health system.
To address these needs, the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MoPHP) established the Yemen Field Epidemiology Training Program (Y-FETP) in 2011. The MoPHP did this in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Further support was received from the Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET) and the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET).
Y-FETP is also supporting MoPHP in meeting the Global Health Security Agenda target of having one trained field epidemiologist per 200,000 population by 2025.
Y-FETP has two training modules based on a philosophy of "learning while doing":
i. A two-year Advanced Epidemiology training module
ii. A three-month Basic Epidemiology/Public Health Empowerment Program (PHEP) module
The Y-FETP training objectives include:
Between 2011 and 2020, five cohorts comprising 54 total residents joined the program. Forty-four (44) percent were from the governorate level, and 35 percent of the residents were females; 59 percent of residents are physicians, while others are health professionals (e.g., laboratory technicians, pharmacists, nurses, etc.) who hold a master’s degree or diploma. One veterinarian was enrolled in the first cohort to support One Health.
Of the 45 residents enrolled in the first four cohorts, 43 have graduated. Furthermore, 12 Basic Epidemiology/PHEP cohorts have been enrolled with support from EMPHNET, the World Health Organization, the Social Fund for Development, and the European Union, wherein more than 250 governorate or district surveillance officers have graduated.
The Yemen FETP (Y-FETP) continues to concentrate on strengthening capacities in the areas of the International Health Regulations, biosecurity/biosafety, outbreak investigation, and rapid response surveillance through support from the Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP), wherein more than 200 professionals have been trained.