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PR No. 185 PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS TRAINED FOR DISEASE OUTBREAK RESPONSE IN PAKISTAN Islamabad: November 21, 2016

To have an effective disease control in the country the first step is to build an effective disease surveillance system. Only with a surveillance system health department not only could respond timely to any outbreak but also evaluate its own health interventions. To address the serious gap, Ministry of Health started Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) at Pakistan National Institute of Health (NIH) in 2006.  FELTPis a collaboration between Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC), Ministry of National Health Services and Regulations and Coordination, NIH and other institutional partners.

Pakistan’s public health experts hailing from the Provinces completed a high level training program in Disease Surveillance and Outbreak Response jointly organized by National Institute of Health Islamabad and Field Epidemiology Training Program of Centres for Disease Control, USA. Under the three weeks intensive training program seventy public health professionals were imparted training to equip them in conducting surveillance and responding to outbreak situations anywhere in the country.

All provincial departments of Health, Pakistan Army and other concerned agencies and departments participated [A2] in this training. On the special request of the Government of Balochistan seat allocation for Balochistan was increased [A3] and twenty- one medical doctors from the province attended the training. Pakistan Army has also been participating in these trainings since 2014.Nine army officerscompleted the training [A4] along with their civilian colleagues this year. This training also gave an opportunity to veterinarians to work along with human health officials[A5]  to protect the nation from zoonotic diseases which is now most common infectious diseases for humans. Three weeks training included a field component where all participants collected data in the field.

Dr.Rana Jawad Asghar, Resident Adviser of FELTP informed the ceremony that three weeks course also included field component to make all participants ready for any future outbreaks. He thanked both Ministry and NIH for their support in this course. Brigadier Naila Azam focal person of FELTP in Pak army also attended the meeting.

In 2006, Pakistan became 32nd country in the world to start FELTP program on the request of Ministry of Health Pakistan. Until now 87 medical doctors/veterinarians have completed two years intensive training in Field Epidemiology while 76 are currently under training. Federal and provincial disease surveillance and response units have been established at each Director General Health offices, staffed by current FELTP fellows assisting their provinces in improving surveillance and outbreak response. Since 2011, 63 fellows trained by FELTP are assisting in critical polio work as National Stop Transmission of Polio officers.

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