DLH Practice Area Director co-authors new article examining performance of accelerated field epidemiology training program in Africa

DLH Practice Area Director for Clinical Trials Research Doreen Collins is the lead author of a new article examining the performance of an accelerated field epidemiology training program in Guinea, West Africa. The article, titled “Evaluation of the first two Frontline cohorts of the field epidemiology training program in Guinea, West Africa” has been published in Human Resources for Health, a journal which publishes original research and case studies on issues of the health workforce, and its links with health care delivery and health outcomes, as related to global health.

The mid-2010s Ebola outbreak in West Africa revealed significant weaknesses in the local health systems of many heavily affected countries. One key area of concern: a shortage of health professionals trained in surveillance and outbreak investigation at the local level. To counter this dangerous trend, the CDC created the Frontline Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) – a three-month, accelerated training program in field epidemiology.

To evaluate the success of the program and the potential for other, similar programs, the authors examined the results of two cohorts of FETP-Frontline in Guinea. The authors conducted interviews with graduates, their supervisors, and directors of nearby health facilities, and examined data reports and surveillance tools at health facilities.

The study revealed a significant perception of improvement in all assessed skills among the graduate population, as well as high levels of self-reported involvement in key activities related to data collection, analysis, and reporting. Among staff at local health facilities, the training had resulted in improvements to information sharing and case notifications.

While this study suggests some barriers to success remaining (including a lack of transportation, support personnel, and other resources), the evaluation saw evidence of positive benefits from the FETP-Frontline training on the professional activities of graduates as well as the overall surveillance system.

Doreen’s co-authors on this article included researchers from RTI International, the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University, and the African Field Epidemiology Network.

The full article is available via Human Resources for Health.

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