Through the two-year advanced training, six-month intermediate and three-month frontline training programs, Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) graduates have learnt many public health skills in an effort to rapidly and effectively respond to health threats in and out of their countries. FETP graduates and residents currently reach over 80 countries working with ministries of health to strengthen public health systems. On 3 December 2020, the Ghana FELTP graduated a total of 40 residents from the Advanced and Intermediate training.
The graduation took place during the 3rd Ghana FELTP Scientific Conference and Competency graduation ceremony which was organized from 1-3 December 2020. The theme of the conference was “Mitigating health system disruptions through workforce development: the role of FE (L) TP in COVID-19 pandemic response.”
Speaking at the graduation, the Director of the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) Dr. Simon Antara said the organization he heads contributes to the training of field epidemiologists around the world, “giving them the necessary skills to collect, analyze, and interpret data and contribute to evidence-based decisions”. To the graduates he said, “What you will be in the coming years is all up to you, the power is in your hands, how you contribute in the public health space is in your hands.”
Dr Ernest Kenu, the program director of the Ghana FELTP, also emphasized that the year 2020 had been a challenging one for the world with the emergence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Alumni and trainees of the GFELTP however played key roles in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues of public health concern.
He said the graduates had braved all the challenges to meet the requirements for certification at the 3rd GFELTP Scientific Conference and Competency Graduation Ceremony. Dr. Kenu further urged the graduates to keep with the epidemiology spirit, to protect a vulnerable and at risk population and to use the knowledge and skills from the program to improve the health of their country, the African continent and world.
About the Ghana FELTP
Established in October 2007, the program evolved from collaboration with United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through a Cooperative Agreement between CDC and the School of Public Health, College of Health sciences University of Ghana, Legon. Since 2014, the programme has served as a resource center for training field epidemiologists for English speaking West African Countries (excluding Nigeria which has its own field epidemiology training programme).
Additionally, the GFELTP now runs the 3-tier pyramid training schedules in frontline, intermediate and advanced levels. This has helped to build a more resilient public health workforce at the frontline, regional and national levels of the health system in Ghana and in English speaking West African countries.