Enhancing the Pakistan Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program

Project Objective

To develop a cadre of strong field epidemiologists to support and integrate the fragmented surveillance systems in Pakistan and provide effective and timely responses to public health events.

Project Overview

The Pakistan FELTP aims to enhance health system capacity in disease surveillance/response. It is implemented by the Centers for Disease Control/Prevention (CDC), Government of Pakistan (GOP)/National Institute of Health (NIH), with the support of TEPHINET and institutional partners. Pakistan FELTP and the N-STOP program play an important synergistic role among a coalition of partners conducting immunization campaigns across Pakistan.

Cohorts and Curriculum

The training involves classroom sessions as well as field-based training. Since the initiative began, 11 cohorts (with 219 trainees) have been completed or are in progress. 124 trainees completed the training during the first eight cohorts, and there are 95 currently in three cohorts (cohorts 9 to 11).

Event Based Surveillance System - Disease Surveillance and Response Units (DSRU)

The DSRU conducts health surveillance in Pakistan. There is one central unit at the federal level (FDSRU) and four decentralized units at the provincial level (PDSRU). During times of disease outbreaks, notifications are sent on the provincial and federal levels. FELTP fellows are staffed to conduct disease surveillance and outbreak response. The Event Based Surveillance System identifies the diseases/outbreaks, and based on this, an approach is determined by health officials. The structure is depicted below (see "Organizational Chart" in the photo gallery).

Each week, the team submits a weekly activity report.

Outbreak Investigations by DSRU - Highlights Since 2016

  • 280 outbreaks investigated
  • 77,800 kids vaccinated           
  • 826 public health community education sessions (60,000 direct beneficiaries of sessions)
  • 95% paid by Government

Major Outbreaks:

  • Naegleria fowleri
  • Vaccine Preventable Diseases (Measles, mumps, diphtheria, pertussis, chicken pox)
  • Dengue
  • CCHF
  • Cutaneous Leishmaniasis
  • Food/water-borne diseases
  • Chikungunya
Project Timeline

2003               Ministry of Health (MoH) of Pakistan requested CDC to start FELTP
2004-05          Series of visits by CDC experts/meetings with Pakistani counterparts at MoH/NIH/DoHs
2006               Full time Resident Advisor assigned; FELTP officially launched
2007               National Steering Committee notified; first training course started
2009               Active viral hepatitis sentinel surveillance
2011               National Stop Transmission of Polio (NSTOP) initiative
2013               Veterinarian joined two-year FELTP
2014               Pakistan Army joined two-year FELTP
2016               Frontline FELTP launched in Pakistan Army
2017               Frontline launched for civilians by NIH

Country Coverage by FELTP Alumni

See "Map of Country Coverage of FETP Alumni" in the photo gallery below.

Key Positions Held by FELTP Alumni

Many FELTP alumni now hold prestigious positions, including:

  • National EOC coordinator
  • Chief Division of Epidemiology and Surveillance (NIH)
  • Provincial Director EPI
  • Director Implementaton
  • Provincial Program Managers
  • District Health Officers
  • Agency Surgeons
  • Associate/Assistant Professors
  • Airport Health Officers
Contact Information

For more information, contact secretariat [at] tephinet [dot] org.

Topics
Disease and emergency response, Disease surveillance, Epidemiology training