Ministry of Health launch Field Epidemiology Training

vlcsnap-2013-02-28-20h02m34s76A third cohort will embark on a Basic Level Course in Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in Belize.  The Ministry of Health launched a Field Epidemiology Training yesterday. The exercise is geared at preparing public health and military personnel with the knowledge and tools to eliminate public health threats through public health education and public health intervention. Participants of the training include Medical  Officers  of  the  Ministry  of  Health and the BDF, along with  Public  Health  Inspectors, Public  Health  Nurses  and Lab Technicians. Englebert Emmanuel, Surveillance Officer for Ministry of Health, is the Coordinator of the training.

Englebert Emmanuel – Surveillance Officer for Ministry of Health:
The objective of the training is to train first-line responders, equipping them in terms of understanding basic surveillance concepts, epidemiological approach in terms of outbreak investigation, rapid response, how to go about conducting these types of initiatives within the field, and also to equip them to understand how to implement it within their routine daily work.

The training will last three months and will cover various subject areas. Englebert gave a break-down of those areas.

Englebert Emmanuel – Surveillance Officer for Ministry of Health:
vlcsnap-2013-02-28-20h12m39s247There are several modules.  We have the Epidemiology Method, the Surveillance of Bio-statistics, a Laboratory and Communication and Management Module.  It should be delivered over a 3 months period.  There are class sessions, and the remaining time will be scheduled for them to do field application, which would entail for them to do an outbreak investigation and oral analysis of a surveillance system, within the Ministry of Health or within the military unit.

Captain Russel Manzana, Physician from the BDF, explained why the training is so important for not only his unit, but the wider community.

Captain Russel Manzana – Physician from the BDF
vlcsnap-2013-02-28-20h14m11s140It is very important, I believe, that the insurgence of having soldiers who are always exposed to elements, and being always out in the fields, they always expose themselves to certain illnesses and diseases.  They come in comtact with entire communities.  Soldiers are always involved in some sort of communication or in contact with someone, and so diseases are always there. So of course having this important Epidemiology training would help equip and find out how to manage and prevent certain illnesses within the Force.

This training is part of a three level program implemented by the Centers for Disease Control. At the end of the training, selected personnel will go on to the intermediate phase. The final phase will be hosted in Guatemala and upon completion, persons will receive a Master’s degree in Field Epidemiology. The current phase is a collaborative effort among the Ministry of  Health,  the  United  States  Centers  for  Disease  Control, the Prevention’s Regional Office in Central America and Panama, Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network and the Naval Medical Research.

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