On August 29, 2022, U.S. Ambassador David Reimer joined the Ministry of Health and Sanitation leadership and other dignitaries to congratulate graduates of the Field Epidemiology Training Program, which trains “disease detectives” to investigate outbreaks of disease and find ways to prevent future outbreaks. The 12th cohort of the Frontline level and the 5th cohort of the Intermediate level of the program demonstrates the ongoing commitment to strengthen workforce capacity at each level of the public health system in Sierra Leone.
“The Field Epidemiology Training Program is modeled on the United States’ own best practices,” noted Ambassador Reimer. “The U.S. government, through CDC, is committed to supporting impactful programs like FETP in Sierra Leone. This is a mission both of our governments share, and the Government of Sierra Leone has shown real leadership in establishing and building disease surveillance capacity at all levels.”
The impact of these trainings extends beyond individual and communities, regions, and beyond Sierra Leone. As global spread of new subvariants of COVID-19 and new global health threats like monkeypox show, disease prevention and control has never been more critical. The FETP residents have undertaken investigations of Lassa fever, Ebola Virus Disease, Anthrax, Monkey pox, Measles, COVID-19 and Polio, to name a few. Additionally, previous trainees of this program are also working with their counterparts to investigate the tragic food poisoning incident in Kenema. The new graduates join a notable network of over 300 other FETP graduates and will serve as leaders and mentors for future FETP residents.
The program represents a successful collaboration between the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to increase the number of trained public health leaders in Sierra Leone.