The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) collaborated with the Indian National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to host the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP)—India Conference 2023 (South East Asia Region), at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. Over 200 FETP officers are currently enrolled in programs throughout India, as they train to detect and respond to health threats.
CDC Country Director, Dr Meghna Desai, inaugurating the conference, said “A trained public health workforce is essential to mitigating the impact of disease outbreaks and other public health events. And FETP, which is our flagship global program in over 80 countries, helps train first responders. The FETPICON2023 will further strengthen India’s public health workforce and global health security.”
FETP is a globally recognised workforce development program by CDC focused on the practice of applied epidemiology in a mentored environment, with an emphasis on “learning by doing.”
FETPs are designed to produce highly skilled epidemiologists who work at the frontline to strengthen surveillance systems and respond to any public health threats. At the conference, the Government of India launched the One India FETP Roadmap to outline plans for expansion of field epidemiology training.
Dr. Desai added, “FETP helps countries develop “disease detectives” at the district, state and national levels who are capable of detecting and responding to disease outbreaks. Since 1980, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has helped train FETP officers around the world. As a long-standing technical partner and supporter of India FETP, CDC congratulates the National Centre for Disease Control, MoHFW, Government of India on this landmark initiative.”
The conference was an opportunity for FETP faculty, alumni, current India FETP scholars, medical residents training in community medicine, and officers from regional FETPs in South-East Asia to share their knowledge and experiences. It was organized in close collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research- National Institute of Epidemiology (ICMR-NIE), MoHFW, the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office for India, and the Uttar Pradesh Health Department. The conference had over 350 delegates from Indian state health departments, MoHFW, and regional country FETPs.
Working in collaboration with the Government of India’s efforts to strengthen health security and pandemic preparedness, U.S. CDC is supporting the development of a robust public health workforce. Since its inception in India, 370 officers have completed the 2-year Advanced FETP (including 83 India Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officers), 24 officers have completed Intermediate FETP, and another 549 officers have completed the three-month Frontline FETP.