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Field Epidemiology Training Program: Stories & Blogs

Nigeria FETP resident Dr. Wada Imam Bello carrying polio vaccine on foot across a river to reach

Nigeria FETP resident Dr. Wada Imam Bello carrying polio vaccine on foot across a river in Katsina, Nigeria

Learn more about FETP work and accomplishments through our stories and blogs.


DRC: Bridging the Gap During the Ebola Epidemic
Map showing 11 locations where Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) disease detectives have helped. 1) Afghanistan; 2) American Samoa; 3) Bangladesh; 4) China; 5) Colombia; 6) Haiti; 7) Nigeria; 8) Philippines; 9) Tanzania; 10) Yemen; 11) Zimbabwe

CDC trains disease detectives to provide faster, smarter response to outbreaks. With program engagement in over 70 countries, CDC supports the development of Field Epidemiology Training Programs around the world.

Prevent. Detect. Respond. [318KB]
Second Yemen FETP cohort graduation in February 2016.

Our work in countries around the world depends on people – at CDC, in ministries of health, and in organizations across all sectors – who have the skills and the will to make a difference.

How CDC Invests in People [220KB]
Liberian disease detective trainees carefully cross a river on a long raft to reach remote settlements

Disease detectives’ work prevents illness, gets to the root of health problems, and helps people cope in difficult situations.

FETP: Then and Now [318KB]
Van from Ministry of Health to transport trainees to the first Thailand investigation, 1981

In 1980, FETP and the Thai Ministry of Health broke new ground in improving public health throughout the world by expanding to areas outside of North America, beginning in Thailand.

CDC Director Mentors FETP Residents [709KB]
CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden on top of a water tank in Tanzania with public health colleagues

To illustrate his own commitment to mentorship, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden began last year to provide direct, one-on-one mentorship to FETP fellows who are engaged in challenging projects all over the world.

Meet our FETP Resident Advisors [318KB]
FETP Resident Advisor Lucy Boulanger in the field

FETP work would not be possible without Resident Advisors, who serve as expert mentors for residents as they learn the fundamental skills of epidemiology.

FETP On the Scene [268KB]
A baby born with microcephaly in Brazil (Source: Mario Tama/Getty)

FETP takes learning by doing seriously. Residents spend at least 75% of their time in the field gaining hands-on experience.

GHSA in Action Stories
A Nigeria FETP resident and two data collectors hike down extrememly difficult terrain to reach underserved settlements.

These GHSA in Action stories illustrate the day-to-day work being done by CDC and its country partners to implement the GHSA across the globe.


FETP Responds to Ebola Outbreak in DRC
Dr. Alain (on the left in blue hat) from the Democratic Republic of Congo at a check point during border control efforts in Forécariah, Guinea.

On May 11, 2017, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of a cluster of suspected cases of Ebola virus disease in the Likati health zone…

Disease Detective Discovers First Zika Cases in Guinea-Bissau
Disease detective Victor Inhane conducts Zika case investigation in a Guinea-Bissau community.

CDC-trained disease detectives like Vitor Inhane learn to quickly put the pieces together to figure out what’s making people sick in a community and prevent more people from becoming ill. While conducting a malaria study in Guinea-Bissau…

Data Inspires Lifesaving Action In Sierra Leone
Disease detectives use data to track down cases of Lassa fever and prevent the spread of the virus in Sierra Leone.

Disease detectives know that data can save lives. This is why three CDC-trained disease detectives from Sierra Leone’s Frontline Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP-Frontline) searched the country’s treasure troves of…

Reaching Across Borders in Benin
 Sharing contact information across borders. Photo Courtesy: Tohoun Aplahoue

Standing near the border crossing between Benin and Togo, a recent graduate of Benin’s Field Epidemiology Training Program-Frontline course (FETP-Frontline) – which trains disease detectives in Benin…

Senegal’s EOC Helps Control Influenza Outbreak
A local health worker collects data and nasopharyngeal swab samples from children during flu investigation.

In March 2017, as the mid-term school holidays began in Senegal’s eastern region of Kedougou, the Ministry of Health received reports that children were falling ill. Some had died.

Uganda’s Rapid Response to Avian Influenza Virus Outbreak in Birds
Dead bird at the affected site of Kalanga District, Uganda.

When local fishermen in Uganda spotted a massive die-off of migratory birds, it raised an alarm for the country. In January 2017, in the Lake Victoria island and lakeshore districts of Kalangala, Masaka, and Wakiso…

Decentralizing and Strengthening Egypt’s Surveillance Lab System
Scientist working in the Damanhur IEIP PCR laboratory unit.

The importance of lab surveillance to protect public health cannot be overstated; when one lab is recognized as a model for other labs, it deserves a closer look.

Blog: A Ray of Hope for a Better-Prepared Ethiopia
Lucy Boulanger Working alongside an EIS officer and an FETP resident on an investigation in Konso, Ethiopia, 2015

I have called Ethiopia home for the past five years – it is a country that is very close to my heart. I was moved to humanitarian work by images of the famine when I was in college and subsequently adopted my daughter from here.

Disease Detectives Come Together in Guinea [575KB]
EIS officer Alaine Knipes and DRC FETP graduate Jacques Likofata in Guinea

Alaine Knipes arrived in Guinea just days after the country was declared Ebola free. She immediately boarded a UN flight from Conakry to join Dr. Gauthier Mubenga in the far-flung town of N’Zerekore.

Mali: A Wider Net Catches Polio
Dr. Adama N’Dir, CDC Acting Country Director, Dr. Ibrahim Fomba, FETP STEP graduate, and Dr. Farka Maiga, Ministry of Health representative in Bamako

A field epidemiology training program called FETP STEP, which was put in place to address the Ebola outbreak, turned out to also be key in thwarting a potentially devastating outbreak of polio. In September 2015, a 19-month-old child from Guinea crossed the border into Mali with a case of vaccine-derived polio.

DRC: Bridging the Gap During the Ebola Epidemic
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) sent FETP residents and graduates to perform contact tracing in Guinea during the Ebola outbreak.

During the Ebola epidemic, disease detectives from the Democratic Republic of Congo brought contact-tracing expertise to Guinea to help find and stop the disease. The DRC has its own history with Ebola, having faced one short-lived outbreak in 1976 and another in the mid-90s.

Nigeria: How Being Prepared Avoided a Tragedy
A Nigeria FETP resident and two data collectors hike down extrememly difficult terrain to reach underserved settlements.

Nigeria’s experience with Ebola shows us how having trained experts in place can make the difference when confronting unexpected health threats.

FETP Face Time with the CDC Director: Lilian Bulage
Lilian Bulage, FETP Uganda resident

Lilian Bulage had no way of knowing that her training in the Uganda FETP would include one-on-one mentoring from CDC Director Tom Frieden.

2015 SAFETP Graduates Setting the Standard
Akhona Tshangela and Moira Beery (pictured with the program director, Dr. Carl Reddy) are two of the successful graduates, and took the time to share their experiences with CDC South Africa

Two South Africa Field Epidemiology Training Programme residents recently completed their training and took the time to share their experiences with CDC South Africa.

CDC partners with ministries of health, the World Bank, and others to re-launch and expand FETP in West Africa
WAFETP workshop participants at the University of Ouagadougou on September 24, 2014. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa highlights the urgent need to build regional capacity. The West Africa Field Epidemiology Training Program (WAFETP) will be re-launched and expanded in 2015.

Uganda FETP Gets Crash Course in Disease Detection
Dr. Benon Kwesiga (r) conducts interview in Disableds Market

Within days of an “strange disease” beginning in Uganda, young Uganda FETP Fellows would, in the storied tradition of EIS, trade lessons for disease detection as they took on the outbreak investigation.

CDC Launches FETP-STEP in Cote d’Ivoire and Other High-risk Unaffected Countries in West Africa
Dr. Eric Brenner CSTE senior epidemiologist consultant detailed to CDC's FETP-STEP training in Cote d'Ivoire, working through disease surveillance exercises with course participants to practice all the components of managing their surveillance data - Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire January 13, 2015

CDC and regional partners remain vigilant in building surveillance capacity in the West Africa region. The FETP STEP pilot was held in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, in January with 24 participants comprised of disease surveillance officers and public health physicians from each of the 12 “high risk” districts..

Saving Lives and Protecting People in Nigeria
Aflatoxin on corn

Dr. Nguku knows that disease response must be swift. He learned this during his own FELTP training in Kenya. “Three weeks into the training there was this massive aflatoxicosis outbreak,” he says. “The classes were suspended, and we were deployed in the field to help solve this problem.”

FETP Work in South Sudan Benefits the Whole World
South Sudan FETP residents working on investigation, July 2012

We’ve already seen the positive impact that FETP has had on public health in South Sudan; surveillance and immunization officers now have standardized job descriptions and terms of reference, demonstrating the way FETP has helped to develop and strengthen the public health workforce in the country.

Mozambique FELTP fellows evaluate impact of malaria bed net campaign
Geraldo Chambe, Mozambique FELTP resident, testing blood sample for malaria to evaluate the impact of a bed net campaign

Four Mozambican epidemiologists-in-training spent a month walking up to ten kilometers a day to make sure that one of the most effective malaria control interventions was reaching the poorest Mozambicans

Monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of Congo
FELTP resident Jacques Likofata and Epidemic Intelligence Officer Dr. Leisha Nolen conducting an interview with a household in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the 2013 human Monkeypox outbreak

In December 2013, DRC Field Epidemiology Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) residents assisted with the DRC Monkeypox outbreak response.


Neighbors Unite to Fight Zika Across the Americas
Surveying a rural settlement in Guatemala.

If there’s an emergency in Guatemala, it is likely that an outbreak in Honduras or El Salvador will soon follow,” says Luis Hernandez, who handles emergency preparedness and response for CDC in Central America. Zika virus is no exception…

Improving Disease Surveillance and Outbreak Response in the Latin American and Caribbean Region through the Field Epidemiology Training Program
FETP residents taking water sample to test for cholera in Latin America

CDC has been working with the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Health (MoH), in collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico, to strengthen basic and intermediate-level training capacity for epidemiologists and laboratory personnel as part of the three-tiered “pyramid” training model developed and implemented by countries in Central America.


Progress in Pakistan: Growing Response to Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
Dr. Shumaila conducts interviews during an outbreak investigation in District Mitari, Province Sindh in March 2017.

Over the past two years, Pakistan has significantly increased its ability to investigate and respond to outbreaks of deadly but preventable diseases like measles, pertussis, and diphtheria. The key to their success has been through building…

Vietnam: Empowering Communities to Detect Potential Outbreaks
The Ministry of Health, PATH, CDC and other partners plan the event-based surveillance pilot project in Vietnam.

Diseases may start in local communities before they spread and become widespread outbreaks. Vietnam is harnessing the power of community members to identify potential outbreaks earlier to shorten response times and avert epidemics.

Thailand: Field Epidemiologists Fight Global Health Threats
Van from Thai Ministry of Public Health to transport trainees to the first investigation, 1981.

FETP first took root outside of North America in Thailand as a partnership with the country’s Ministry of Health. In the last 35 years, Thailand’s FETP has helped tackle some of the most lethal public health threats in the region, including HIV, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), botulism, malaria, and the 2009 influenza pandemic.

CDC Director Advises FETP Resident to Think Small on Big Challenges of Pertussis
FETP residents taking water sample to test for cholera in Latin America

In Iraq, amid security concerns and a complex political climate, Rana Khalid is taking on a challenge that CDC Director Tom Frieden calls “huge:” finding and documenting cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

Insight for Indonesia: CDC Director Mentors Disease Detective from Across the World
Indonesia FETP resident Nyoman Purnawan in a mentoring call with CDC Director Tom Frieden

Late at night in Indonesia, FETP resident Nyoman Purnawan spoke with CDC Director Tom Frieden, in one of a series of one-on-one conversations with the director designed to provide mentorship to FETP residents around the world.

Vietnam Field Epidemiology Training Program: Measuring the Impact of Vietnam’s Universal Helmet Law in Ho Chi Minh City
Motorcyclists on a busy street in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam FETP residents are mesuring the effect of the universal helmet law in reducing head injuries and deaths in the Ho Chi Minh City’s Cu Chi district.

WHO and UNICEF Partner with CDC and Pakistan FELTP to Build Capacity for Responding to Polio and Ebola Outbreaks
NSTOP and P-FELTP fellows engaged in breakout sessions during the Polio Eradication and Ebola outbreak investigation workshop in Pakistan, December, 2014.

Pakistan’s FELTP conducted a five-day training workshop on polio eradication that included a short course on investigating and responding to Ebola outbreaks.

Partnership between the Pakistan FELTP and the Pakistan Armed Forces to Improve Skills in Applied Epidemiology and Outbreak Response
Senior female medical officers in the Pakistan Army doing a class assignment as a group during the diseasesurveillance training workshop in Pakistan, March 2014.

The partnership between the Pakistan FELTP and the Pakistan Armed Forces continues to develop as both groups strive to develop well-trained medical staff and field epidemiologists capable of responding to important public health events.

Teaching Leadership and Management Skills to FETP Fellows from Thailand and India
FETP India fellows, CDC: Back row (left to right): Dr. Satish Kumar; Dr. Tripurari Kumar; Dr. Rajesh Pandey; Dr. Parvez Pathan; Dr. Kapil Goel; and Dr. Yogita Tulsian. Front row: CDC Charlene Majersky, PhD. Photo by: Dr. Mohan Kumar. Photo taken May 6, 2014.

FETP residents in Thailand and India attended training sessions to help them become more effective managers and leaders.

Central Asia

Country of Georgia: Putting Data to Work
Locating survey households in Country of Georgia

Georgia is the first country to take on the challenge of completely eliminating Hepatitis C (HCV) and they’re using a team of international disease detectives to find out how it’s spreading.