World Field Epidemiology Day

I am delighted to share with you a message on behalf of the Somalia National Institute of Health in “commemoration of World Field Epidemiology Day on September 7, 2022”, We are also happy as the institute to see competent field epidemiologist health care workers who completed two Cohorts, Frontline-FETP successfully within this year in the history of Somalia as county.

Somalia National Health Institute (NIH) has recognized the importance of a competent field epidemiology workforce that is able to detect, investigate outbreaks and respond to the country’s health threats.” This year’s theme highlights the impact on health systems when field epidemiologists are empowered and supported”. This theme is attracted and applied to Somalia since Somali FETP is in its infancy program but contributed more in the health system.

(Message from Dr. Abdi Fatah Ahmed Diriye. Director of National Institute of Health Somalia )

Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) is competency-based, and are mentored, on-the-job, competency-based training programs for public health professionals. Whereby field epidemiologists are trained to strengthen the capacity of countries to detect, respond to, and contain public health emergencies at their source, preventing the spread of diseases and thereby enhancing global health security more rapidly. (Martyn Kirk et al., 2018) .

Somalia inaugurated the first Frontline-FETP on 29th August 2021. Since then a total of forty-four (44) participants graduated from the Frontline-Field Epidemiology Training Program. Twenty-one (21) participants graduated in the first cohort and twenty three (23) health workers who graduated in July/2022 who were selected from the national and sub-national levels.

We are proud to report that we have the first two cohorts FETP graduated in Field epidemiology ever in the history of Somalia. I am witnessing the Epidemiological skills gained by our well-trained health workers helped to deliver a huge epidemiological service in our health system of Somalia in the area of surveillance, outbreak investigation and response effectively both during the study and after graduation. For instance, our trainees investigated more than 44 disease outbreaks and responded including Cholera, Covid-19, measles, Pertussis, Neonatal tetanus, Acute Flaccid paralysis, Human-like illness influenzas among others. In addition to this, they improved surveillance specifically E-warn surveillance which improved from 22% to 55% surveillance reports in the year 2022. They assessed and evaluated the surveillance system of more than 30 districts, and findings were shared with all governments senior officials including planning and health policy team for the improvement of better health service delivery at all levels.

In order, to sustain and prepare for the institutionalization of the Program, we recruited as co-Mentors  the ten health workers who graduated from the first cohort -of frontline-FETP that serves technical and supervision to the new trainees and graduates which we are lobbying to register as best practice in FETP. We are also committed to expanding the FETP to the higher level referred to as intermediate and advanced level (Master Program).

I call upon to all development partners /organization including UN agency, government, embassies and others to support NIH Somalia to build capacity of health through technical and funding support for Somalia Field Epidemiology Program who has made tremendous milestone to public health emergency management to prevent public health and protect our community’s health from emerging and re-emerging infectious public health threats.