PR No. 132 Civilian And Military Collaboration To Improve Disease Outbreak Response In The Country Islamabad

Thirty-Seven senior medical doctors from Pakistan Army were trained to better detect future disease outbreaks (including influenza) and it’s effective response. The training was arranged for consecutive three days to jointly work on challenging health issues in the country. Senior medical officers from Armed Forces (including Pakistan Navy, Air Force and other allied organizations) attended thethe participatory short course. Objectives of the course to Understand the dynamics of Public Health Surveillance discuss common sources, purpose and use of surveillance data investigate an outbreak and implement the control measures develop an intervention strategy for an outbreak summarize data in line-list analyze the data in time, place and person.

The teaching materials were prepared by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA and delivered by internationally trained faculty of FELTP.The short course arranged by a joint partnership of Armed Forces Post Graduate Medical Institute (AFPGMI) Pakistan, Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme-Pakistan (FELTP),Division of Field Epidemiology and Surveillance, National Institute of Health (NIH). It was another effort of the Ministry of National Health Services and Regulations and coordination to improve the capacity of Disease Surveillance and outbreak response in the country.

Dr .Rana Jawad Asghar, Resident Adviser FELTP, informed the audience about such programs which are operational in 60 countries globally. In 2006, Pakistanbecame 32nd such country to start FELTP program on the request of then Ministry of Health, Pakistan. He further informed the audience that till now 87 medical doctors/veterinarians,who were nominated by their respective federal/provincial departments of health have completed two years intensive training in Field Epidemiology while 46 are currently under training. A federal and04 provincial disease surveillance and response units have been established at each Director General Health offices, staffed by current FELTP fellows assisting provinces in improving surveillance and outbreak response. Since 2011, 63 fellows trained by FELTP are assisting in critical polio work as NSTOP Officers (National Stop Transmission of Polio). In next few months FELTP will launch a- 03 month Basicprogram to address the needs of frontline workers.

Maj. GenZahid Hamid, Commandant AFPGMI reiterated the fact that Pakistan Army will support for expanding the field epidemiology discipline to ensure better capacity to detect the outbreaks (naturally or man-made) swiftly, and minimize its consequences. It is important

Please note that this is the second year that serving officers of Pakistan Army are now part of FELTP two years fellowship program.

Executive Director NIH, Dr.Farnaz Malik, who is also working as Director of FELTP informed the audience about the role of NIH in strengthening the Disease Surveillance and Laboratory capacity in the whole country. NIH has been successful in competing and getting international grants to strengthen the public health infrastructure step by step with the collaboration of provinces. In this regard NIH is now leading work in International Health Regulations (IHR) and antimicrobial resistance.With a newly establisheddivision of Field epidemiology and Surveillance, NIH will also move toward a sustainable and integrated disease surveillance. Setting up of Disease Surveillance and Response Units in provinces are the first step in this regard and this year they will be expanded to more major cities.

In the end Dr.Farnaz Malik and Maj.GenZahid Hamid distributed completion certificates among the participants.