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Press Release 2009

Ethiopian Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) Provides Basis for Sound Public Health Policymaking

Monday Feb 2, 2009 (Addis Ababa)

The Ethiopian Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP), the first of its kind in Ethiopia, opened today with a ceremony at Zewditu Hospital.  The Ethiopian Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program is a comprehensive two-year competency-based training and service program designed to build sustainable public health expertise and capacity. 

The Ethiopian FELTP is a partnership between the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention – Ethiopia (CDC-Ethiopia), the Federal Ministry of Health, the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute, Addis Ababa University School of Public Health, and the Ethiopian Public Health Association.   The program is modeled after the Epidemic Intelligence Service Program, also known as the "Disease Detectives" at the U.S. CDC. Similar programs operate in other African countries and throughout the world to build local capacity to respond to significant public health challenges such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, malnutrition and other health issues. Trainees will work within the Federal Ministry of Health and Regional Health Bureaus to better investigate disease outbreaks, improve disease surveillance, respond to public health emergencies, and use health data to make recommendations on setting health policy for the nation. CDC-Ethiopia is providing technical assistance and funding through PEPFAR (the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), including a Resident Advisor to assist the new program.
The trainees will attend academic courses and serve in field assignments with the Federal Ministry of Health and Regional Health Bureaus, where they will develop their skills while addressing pressing public health challenges. Graduates will have the knowledge and expertise to assume leadership positions in the field of public health, mentor and train other health workers, and enhance Ethiopia's public health workforce.
41 applicants applied for the program and 13 were accepted in the first cohort. They all currently work in the field of pubic health and come from eight regions across Ethiopia.  The selection process began with a written screening/assessment examination. Those successful in the examination then underwent intensive interviews. Plans are underway for a second cohort to begin later this year.