AFENET is a non-profit networking and service alliance of Field Epidemiology (and Laboratory) Training Programs (FELTPs), and other applied epidemiology training programs. AFENET has operations in over 31 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa or the World Health Organisation Africa Region (WHO – AFRO). Established in 2005, AFENET is dedicated to helping Ministries of Health in Africa build strong, effective, sustainable programs and capacity to improve public health systems on the African continent.
The network’s goal is to strengthen field epidemiology and public health laboratory capacity to contribute effectively to addressing epidemics and other major public health problems in Africa.
AFENET works through Seven priority areas to achieve its strategic objectives. The areas include:
- Developing Field Epidemiology Capacity in Africa
- Developing Public Health Laboratory Capacity in Africa
- Public Health Disease Surveillance and Effective Response Systems
- Networking and Collaboration for Public Health Advancement
- Documentation and Dissemination of Experiences in Public Health
- Public Health Program Management & Research Development
- Promoting the "ONE HEALTH" Approach
Developing Field Epidemiology Capacity in Africa
This program fosters the professional development of field epidemiologists, competent in the practical application of epidemiologic methods to a wide range of contemporary public health problems. The strategic objective addressed by this program is strengthening field epidemiology capacity in Africa. Emphasis is placed on the following strategic actions:
- Facilitating training of field epidemiologists.
- Mentoring trainees in outbreak investigation.
- Providing support to Ministries of Health in outbreak investigations.
- Providing support for operational research in epidemiology.
Developing Public Health Laboratory Capacity in Africa.
This area focuses on the strategic objective of enhancing public health laboratory capacity in Africa. Emphasis is on the following strategic actions:
- Establishing the current capacity of health laboratories in Africa
- Establishing and operationalizing a laboratory networking mechanism
- Supporting laboratory capacity among member programs
Public Health Disease Surveillance and Effective Response Systems
Member programs contribute to strengthening surveillance and outbreak response systems. This includes formulation, strengthening, and periodical review of surveillance and emergency preparedness plans. The strategic objective advanced by this area is strengthening surveillance and outbreak response systems for communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases. Through this program area, the following strategic actions are emphasized:
- Training public health personnel in Integrated Disease Surveillance & Response (IDSR)and data management.
- Providing technical support to disease control programs.
- Establishing joint training of epidemiologists, veterinarians, and laboratory technicians, in line with the “One Health” initiative.
- Operationalizing surveillance systems.
- Strengthening early warning systems.
Networking and Collaboration
This area places emphasis on the strategic objective aimed at advancing the sharing of regional expertise in field epidemiology and laboratory practice. Emphasis is on the following strategic actions:
- Conducting experience-sharing conferences, workshops, and seminars in the region
- Facilitating faculty exchange programs in the region
- Strengthening inter-country collaboration
- Facilitating the sharing of training materials in the region
- Conducting joint outbreak investigations
- Promoting racial and ethnic diversity at all levels of public health practice
Publication and Documentation
The strategic objective for this program is to strengthen documentation and dissemination of field epidemiology experiences. The following strategic actions are considered:
- Supporting research performed by trainees
- Facilitating programs to document and disseminate their implementation experiences
- Supporting the Secretariat’s capacity to document and disseminate field experiences
Public Health Program Management & Research Development
Public Health Program Management & Research Development aims to strengthen the capacity of disease prevention and control in the Ministries of Health in Africa. Through partnership, some of the projects that have been implemented include: enhancing research, epidemiology, and policy capacity in Sub Saharan Africa (Data to Action Award), Neglected Tropical Diseases Tobacco Control (NTD), Technical assistance to HIV response in Uganda, Malaria project, Nigeria, Tobacco Control, Data Improvement Teams – Uganda, Strengthening the Second Year of Life in Ghana, SMS reminder project in Uganda, Epidemiology of Burkitt’s lymphoma in East-African Children and Minors (EMBLEM) among others.
Promoting the "ONE HEALTH" Approach
- Establishing and strengthening of One Health platforms in Africa
- Preparedness and Response
- One health training programs (Burkina Faso and Senegal)