The Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (NFELTP) is a two-year in-service training program in applied epidemiology and public health laboratory practice, created to be a long-term program within the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)/Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development. In collaboration with the University of Ibadan and Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, it trains medical epidemiology residents, public health laboratory residents, and veterinary epidemiology residents for leadership positions in various levels of both the Ministries of Health and Agriculture through a combination of long-term field placements and didactic courses.

The program offers the Basic Frontline training- a competency-based field epidemiology training to frontline health care workers at Local Government level to improve surveillance and response to priority disease as part of the Global Health Security Agenda(GHSA) and International Health Regulation (IHR) core capacity requirements. The Nigeria Frontline FETP kicked off in February 2016 and is currently running the 10th and 11th cohort simultaneously. The goal of the training program is to improve the ability for timely detection and prompt response to disease outbreaks and other public health threats by building epidemiologic capacity and the LGA and state levels, thereby protecting the health of the people locally and ensuring global health security. Most of the health workers trained have been DSNOs and Assistant DSNOs at the LGA and state levels. Other health workers trained are Medical Officers of Health (MOH), Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officers, laboratory focal persons, veterinary officers, State Epidemiologists (SE) and Assistant SEs.

Residents of the Advanced program select one of three tracks for study: Medical Epidemiology, Laboratory Epidemiology and Management, or Veterinary Epidemiology. Nigeria is among the first countries to implement a veterinary track to address the ever-increasing threat of zoonotic infectious diseases and strengthen the collaboration between the human and animal health sectors; a concept popularly known as the One World, One Health concept.

So far, 374 residents have been recruited in the program with 223 completing the two years hands on training. Over 900 have been trained in the frontline three-months FETP in 13 States and the FCT covering 260 LGAs in all six geo-political zones. Residents have responded to over 300 public health emergencies including viral hemorrhagic fevers outbreak like Ebola and Lassa fever. Additionally, residents have been engaged in response to lead poisoning, rabies, cholera, cerebrospinal meningitis, measles, diphtheria, Diethylene glycol (DEG) poisoning and mumps among other disease. The residents are also involved in the national efforts in eradicating polio and strengthening routine childhood immunization through the National Stop Transmission of Polio (NSTOP). The program is involved in supporting and sustaining disease surveillance systems for HIV, Malaria and other infectious and non-infectious diseases (Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response).

The NCDC National Public Health Reference Laboratory, Gaduwa, Abuja, also serves as training facility for the classroom component of the NFELTP.

For more information on NFELTP, visit: AFENET Nigeria Website

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