Voices From the Field: Mentoring FELTP Residents in Investigating Other Respiratory Infections During the Emergence of COVID-19 in Mozambique
Judite Monteiro is a graduate and field supervisor of the Mozambique Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP).
Since COVID-19 cases began in Mozambique in March 2020, other respiratory infections also increased in several provinces across the country from April to June.
As a graduate and field supervisor of the Mozambique Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP), I had the opportunity to mentor residents to evaluate other respiratory infections’ indicators and conduct active case finding, including for measles cases in five provinces in Mozambique. This was a unique experience since there were some concerns about whether COVID-19 and the imposed restrictions could negatively affect other respiratory infections.
As supervisor, I divided the group of residents among different districts and different provinces. It was challenging, but my training had provided me with the adequate tools to deal with those types of situations.
Sometimes, as epidemiologists, we are more used to seeing large numbers. But when we are in the field, we realize how each disease case is unique. During our field activities, we were able to identify two children with measles. The children were not vaccinated and had no previous health interventions. With our intervention, those two children underwent adequate treatment. It was gratifying to see that we can study the occurrence of disease, but we can also improve and save lives.
All of the experiences that I have had as a supervisor make me grow with each passing day. Interacting with local communities, listening to their fears of contracting COVID-19 and their challenges in accessing transportation and health facilities help me better understand the challenges communities face while seeking medical care during emergencies.