Kenya: FELTP Activated for Emergency Response
When the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in China, Kenyan officials knew that the outbreak would eventually reach Kenya. Nairobi is a major travel hub for the East, Central, and West Africa region and a connecting point for most travelers from China. The Kenyan government began preparing for possible importation of COVID-19. Between February and March, the Field Epidemiology Lab Training Program (FELTP) deployed 15 “disease detectives” to the airports to screen passengers and make recommendations based on the information received from the health intake forms.
In March, as international air traffic lessened and the first COVID 19 case was identified in Kenya, the disease detectives were redeployed to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to carry out contact tracing. FELTP graduates are managing the EOC and rapid response team, responding to all alerts. In addition to contact tracing, the disease detectives are providing guidance and technical support to Kenyan health officials. Dr. Ahmed, Kenya FELTP Resident Advisor noted that, “Without Kenya FELTP’s response to COVID-19, there would have been heartbreak, and the response would have been very difficult. All of the COVID-19 task forces are run by FELTP graduates, and the heads of most EOC leaders are graduates.”