The Tanzania Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program: building and transforming the public health workforce
AbstractThe Tanzania Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (TFELTP) was established in 2008 as a partnership among the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW), Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, National Institute for Medical Research, and local and international partners. TFELTP was established to strengthen the capacity of MOHSW to conduct public health surveillance and response, manage national disease control and prevention programs, and to enhance public health laboratory support for surveillance, diagnosis, treatment and disease monitoring. TFELTP is a 2-year full-time training program with approximately 25% time spent in class, and 75% in the field. TFELTP offers two tracks leading to an MSc degree in either Applied Epidemiology or, Epidemiology and Laboratory Management. Since 2008, the program has enrolled a total of 33 trainees (23 males, 10 females). Of these, 11 were enrolled in 2008 and 100% graduated in 2010. All 11 graduates of cohort 1 are currently employed in public health positions within the country. Demand for the program as measured by the number of applicants has grown from 28 in 2008 to 56 in 2011. While training the public health leaders of the country, TFELTP has also provided essential service to the country in responding to high-profile disease outbreaks, and evaluating and improving its public health surveillance systems and diseases control programs. TFELTP was involved in the country assessment of the revised International Health Regulations (IHR) core capabilities, development of the Tanzania IHR plan, and incorporation of IHR into the revised Tanzania Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) guidelines. TFELTP is training a competent core group of public health leaders for Tanzania, as well as providing much needed service to the MOHSW in the areas of routine surveillance, outbreak detection and response, and disease program management. However, the immediate challenges that the program must address include development of a full range of in-country teaching capacity for the program, as well as a career path for graduates.
Pan African Medical Journal 2011;10(Supp1):9