Nigeria Commemorates the World Field Epidemiology Day
Posted: 12-01-2022 01:25:23 PM
In Nigeria, Field Epidemiologists have continued to play an unprecedented role in strengthening national health security. This is being achieved through application of their skills and research findings in prevention, timely detection and prompt response to outbreaks of epidemic prone diseases (EPDs) and other public health threats across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. With this, a significant number of morbidity and mortality which would have occurred have been averted. However, there are still limited number of Field Epidemiologists given Nigeria’s population density as well as a significant number and frequency of outbreaks reported yearly.
To fill the above gap, in 2008, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development collaborated to establish and strengthen the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NFELTP). We are gradually building a critical mass of field epidemiologists which is in line with the workforce development component of the International Health Regulations.
Aside contributing to detection and control of outbreaks in the past, the critical role of field epidemiologists in the current level of control of the ongoing Coronavirus cannot be overemphasised. Being the longest and largest outbreaks, Field Epidemiologists have continued to support states to sustain response activities across diverse areas of response activities including but not limited to emergency risk assessment, field investigation; simulation exercises etc. Some of them also currently serve as State Epidemiologists / Incident Managers in different states in Nigeria. The importance of these roles cannot be over-emphasised!
In recognition of afore-mentioned roles of Filed Epidemiologists, the NCDC on the 7th of September, joined the Training Programmes in Epidemiology and Public Health Network (TEPHINET) and the global public health community to commemorate the first ever World Field Epidemiology Day. With the theme “Celebrating Our Public Health Disease Detectives”, we are particularly grateful to all our Field Epidemiologists for their dedication and selflessness in the current efforts towards controlling COVID-19 outbreaks in Nigeria.
As Nigeria’s national focal point for International Health Regulations, the NCDC will continue to intensify efforts towards achieving the global goal of one trained field epidemiologist (or its equivalent) to 200,000 population. Government at all levels as well as relevant stakeholders are also urged to prioritise investment in field epidemiology for the benefit of national health security.