Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 6 September 2023. “The value of our Region’s field epidemiologists has never been more underscored than through country response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic. The support that these public health professionals provided to national Ministries of Health through contact tracing, outbreak control and patient follow up, significantly helped each country to contain negative health impacts of the pandemic,” said Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), in observance of World Field Epidemiology Day.
Field Epidemiologists or “Disease Detectives” form an integral part of the public health workforce. They are called upon as first responders to public health emergencies, disease outbreaks and natural disasters.
World Field Epidemiology Day (#WorldFieldEpidemiologyDay), is a movement that was initiated by Training Programmes in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET) to highlight the important work of field epidemiologists in strengthening health systems to detect and respond to emergencies, protect population health and advance regional and global health security.
CARPHA coordinates the Caribbean Regional Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (CR-FELTP) on behalf of its Member States. This programme offers a holistic public health training package at Basic and Intermediate levels. Programme fellows learn different skills and gain competencies in epidemiology, disease surveillance and emergency response, as well as conducting public health research to provide data for public health policy and decision making.
“Since the inception of the programme in 2014, the Region has graduated nearly 400 fellows across 17 CARPHA Member States who have been instrumental in containing food, vector borne and respiratory disease outbreaks. These individuals work tirelessly and provide much needed ‘boots on the ground’ support when called upon by their countries,” said Dr. Laura- Lee Boodram, Head CR-FELTP, CARPHA. “In the near future we hope to form a network of CR-FELTP graduates that can be deployed rapidly to assist other countries facing public health emergencies or to assist in the recovery process following the aftermath of storms and hurricanes.”
The CR-FELTP is an affiliated member of TEPHINET. Through the support of international technical development partners and donors, such as, the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, the Agence Française de Développement, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Union, and the Government of the Republic of Korea, the CR-FELTP has been able to execute CARPHA’s mandate to provide public health workforce training to the Region.
“Capacity building through workforce training is an ongoing process,” said Dr. Lisa Indar, Director, Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control, CARPHA. “The Caribbean needs a continuous supply of skilled public health professionals to meet the various public health priorities of the Region. These range from prevention and control of communicable or infectious diseases, non-communicable or chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and even health threats associated with climate change.”
On September 7th, 2023, CARPHA joins the Global Field Epidemiology Community in celebrating World Field Epidemiology Day under the theme, “Increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Field Epidemiology”. The Agency hails the graduates of the CR-FELTP for their yeoman’s service in securing the health of the Caribbean Region.
For more information on the CR-FELTP see link here.
For more information on World Field Epidemiology Day visit TEPHINET’s website here.