Under the patronage of H.E. the Minister of Public Health in Tunisia Dr. Emad Al-Hamami, the graduation ceremony of the first cohort of Tunisia’s Field Epidemiology Training Program (T-FETP) took place in Tunis on September 30, 2018.
The National Observatory for Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases (ONMNE) held the event on behalf of the Tunisian Ministry of Public Health (MoH). H.E. the Minister Dr. Al Hamami, the General Director of Health Dr. Nebiha Borsali, the General Director of ONMNE Dr. Nissaf Ben Alaya, and Executive Director of GHD/EMPHNET Dr. Mohannad Al-Nsour presided the ceremony.
The first cohort of this program comprised 14 physicians and one veterinarian working in priority regional surveillance units designated by the MoH. The program was designed to serve Tunisia’s health system by strengthening the public health workforce capacities in early disease detection, outbreak investigation, disease response, as well as adhering to the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005).
As part of this one-year program, the T-FETP graduates expanded their knowledge in the areas of surveillance of public health, epidemics investigation, priority diseases, complex emergencies and biosecurity issues, amongst other disciplines.
Remarking on the graduation, H.E. the Minister of Public Health Dr. Emad Al-Hamami stated that emerging health threats are now crossing borders, which means that there is a need to enhance the capabilities of human resources in the areas of preparedness and response to disease outbreaks and epidemics.
The General Director of ONMNE Dr. Nissaf Ben Alaya added that with the changing season and the fluctuating temperatures, the country will be prone to more diseases. These graduates will assist the health system in preparedness and response to these diseases and outbreaks.
“Today is an important day for the T-FETP, the Tunisian Ministry of Public Health, and for us at EMPHNET, as it is on this day that we see a milestone being achieved.” Executive Director of GHD/EMPHNET Dr. Mohannad Al-Nsour said. “We see these graduates as the force that will move on to serve their respective communities, and it is these ambitious minds of this and coming cohorts who will contribute to strengthening the health systems of Tunisia at large.”
The T-FETP is a one-year program where residents enroll in five modules that focus on surveillance of public health, epidemics investigation, priority diseases, complex emergencies and biosecurity issues, and research methodology. Each module is followed by a field training, and as a requirement of the program, each participant is expected to complete a research project.
The first cohort targeted twelve of Tunisia’s regions. The second cohort of the Tunisia FETP is expected to target the remaining regions.