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56 health workers graduate from Rwanda’s field epidemiology program

The 5th and 6th cohorts comprising 56 residents of the Rwanda frontline field epidemiology training program (FETP) have graduated in Kigali following three months of study.

From across 8 districts, these cohorts bring the total number of frontline graduates in Rwanda to 142 since the establishment of the frontline FETP in 2020. The 3-month training provided an opportunity for trainees to review surveillance data in health facilities, review animal disease surveillance, and investigated some outbreaks. The trainees included medical doctors, data managers, laboratory technicians, veterinary officers, as well as integrated disease surveillance and response (IDSR) focal persons, among others. 

Speaking at the graduation ceremony held on 11 March 2022, the Dean of the School of Public Health, Ass. Prof Ntakirutimana Theoneste emphasized the importance of health systems strengthening through programs like the FETP, which is a key component in disease prevention and control that produces competent personnel that support the ministry of health.

At the same event, Dr. Rwagasore Edson, the head of the public health surveillance and emergency preparedness and response division at the Rwanda Biomedical Centre urged the graduates to use the knowledge acquired to contribute to the improvement of Rwanda's health system. He also encouraged the trainees to enroll in the intermediate and advanced courses that will be introduced soon to further improve their skills and knowledge. He lauded the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) for their continuous support towards strengthening public health surveillance and response in Rwanda. 

The ceremony was also graced by several officials from the Health ministry, Rwanda Biomedical Centre, University of Rwanda College of Medicine (UR CMHS), Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB), and FETP alumni. 

The Rwanda FETP was established in May 2010 to enhance the ministry of health's capacity to conduct effective public health surveillance and allow timely response to endemic and emerging public health. To achieve this goal and increase the number of trained “disease detectives, the FELP will soon introduce the 9-month intermediate training targeting the middle and national level health workers.