World Malaria Day, April 25: CDC’s Field Epidemiology Training Programs help strengthen health systems in countries where the President’s Malaria Initiative works
The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), a U.S. government interagency initiative jointly implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development and CDC, to sharply decrease the burden of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa and contain multidrug resistance in the Greater Mekong Subregion, supports training through CDC’s Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) to develop graduates with expertise in malaria prevention, control, surveillance and program evaluation. Every year PMI supports one to two malaria-focused fellows for the program and malaria training's for all FETP fellows in 12 out of 19 PMI-targeted African countries, as well as 2 countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
FETP is a 2-year, full time training and mentoring program with approximately 25% spent in classroom instruction and 75% in field assignments. The applied epidemiology on-the-job training is competency-based with close supervision, and includes courses in epidemiology, communications, economics, and management. FELTP is modeled after CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Program.
Most FETP graduates continue working for ministries of health including national malaria control programs either at the central or regional levels.
The blog below by CDC’s Malaria Branch EIS Officer Mathew Plucinski describes his experience with FETP fellows in Mozambique. Examples of other FETP fellows’ work include:
- Eleven Angolan FETP fellows participated in evaluating a potential malaria outbreak in Lunda Norte and Uige. Once the outbreak was confirmed, they collected and analyzed data, which enabled the NMCP to react quickly and control the outbreak.
- One Ethiopian FETP fellow completed a research project using dried tube specimens to assess malaria rapid diagnostic test (RDT) performance. He presented the results at the 2013 ASTMH conference showing that this method reliably monitors RDT performance.
- An FELTP fellow in Nigeria is currently investigating non-use of insecticide-treated nets among pregnant women attending primary health care facilities in Oyo State. Results will help the NMCP recognize bottlenecks and customize future interventions to increase bed net use among pregnant women.
- In Tanzania, one FELTP fellow studied the malaria treatment in accredited drug dispensing outlets (ADDOs) in the Morogoro Region. He found that most ADDOs can correctly diagnose presumptive malaria and appropriately treat all age groups, while considering contraindications in the 1st trimester of pregnancy and for children < 5 kg
- A Ugandan FETP fellow is working at the NMCP on a malaria impact evaluation, bed net distribution campaign, revision of malaria indicators for the country’s health information system, and drafting of two quarterly malaria bulletins.