The Afghanistan FETP (AFETP) is an intermediate-level, one-year national training program that was established at the beginning of 2019 with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, Atlanta) and Global Health Development and the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (GHD/EMPHNET). 16 health professionals were trained early on, including 3 by the Pakistan FELTP and 13 by the Afghan-Tajik FETP (including one veterinarian). The AFETP is functional and accommodated within the Afghanistan National Public Health Institute (ANPHI), which is a General Directorate under the structure of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). The main purpose of the program is to build the capacity of MoPH health professionals to detect, investigate and respond to infectious diseases and public health emergencies and to support the design and implementation of epidemiological projects. The program is led by a steering committee consisting of experts and authorities from the MoPH.
Before the launch of the first cohort, a mentor's workshop was conducted in Amman, Jordan in January 2019 through coordination with CDC and GHD/EMPHNET. It trained a group of mentors and facilitators to provide technical support to the program. In February 2019, a screening workshop was conducted in Kabul, Afghanistan in which 30 out of 41 volunteers were selected by a steering committee and stakeholders as residents of the first cohort. They have completed all 5 workshops, field work, and a group project thus far. The first cohort launched in February 2019 and graduated in February 2020.
The selection procedures for the second AFETP cohort started at the beginning of 2020. The list of residents was finalized in March 2020. Since then, the cohort’s 27 residents have completed 2 workshops and have returned to the field. With the support of their mentors, they are implementing their routine work through field assignments. The program has conducted its 2nd mentors’ workshop in Kabul; therefore, all workshops and fieldwork have been facilitated and supported by national experts. Our AFETP family has submitted some abstracts to national and international conferences, some of which have been approved and presented. The AFETP has applied for TEPHINET membership and has been approved as a member. The program is managed by a technical advisor and an admin officer, who were recruited and deployed in ANPHI by GHD/EMPHNET.