Establishing FETP Frontline Across Latin America and the Caribbean in Response to Zika
The goal of this initiative was to rapidly develop in-country expertise by training a cadre of health workers (through the establishment of Frontline FETP) so that outbreaks of vector-borne diseases such as Zika can be detected and contained locally.
In February 2016, the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region was the most affected with more than 700,000 cases reported. In response to the outbreak, the U.S. Government allocated a portion of the funds remaining from the previous Ebola outbreak response to the LAC region.
As an implementing partner of the CDC, TEPHINET received funds to help countries build sustainable capacity for detecting and responding to the threat of Zika by developing in-country expertise to detect disease outbreaks locally and prevent them from spreading. One of the major components of all the projects was the implementation of a basic level, 12-week field epidemiology training program (FETP-Frontline) to rapidly and efficiently train health workers with an emphasis on conducting Zika disease surveillance, identifying microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome, and ensuring FETP-Frontline graduates are ready to respond to Zika and other vector-borne outbreaks at the country level.
Project implementation began in September 2016 with TEPHINET providing technical oversight and ensuring quality in the implementation of the project in each country.
- Over the course of 15 months, Frontline FETP training was successfully launched in Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Paraguay, Peru, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay. In some countries, Frontline was added as a level to an already existing FETP; in others, Frontline became the first FETP in country.
- To date, more than 1,100 public health workers have completed the training.
- A descriptive study was conducted using data collected at all sites from March 2017 to May 2018. Participants' performance was assessed using pre- and post-tests. Post-test scores showed a 40 percent improvement across all competencies.