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Strengthening field epidemiology in Africa: The Zimbabwe Field Epidemiology Training Program

Mufuta Tshimanga
Notion Gombe
Gerald Shambira
Ndlovu Nqobile


The Zimbabwe Masters in Public Health Program is a 2-year competency based training that consists of classroom teaching (30%) and on the job field training (70%). The MPH program was created in 1993 with the aim of assisting the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare create a permanent capacity to recruit, train, and employ public health practitioners to sustain the public health infrastructure. The MPH program is operated from two sites: the DCM at the College of Health Sciences, of University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and the Health Studies Office (HSO) in MOHCW. The HSO in the MOHCW oversees the operation of field training in collaboration with approved Field Supervisors at the training sites. MOHCW provides field training sites through its eight provincial medical directorates. In addition the health directorates of the major cities in the country are designated field training sites. Since 1993, the program has had 18 Cohorts trained of which three are part-time. The part-time program was initiated in 2008 with an intake of 10 trainees. Since 2003, the full time program has experienced an increase in intake with the highest intake recorded being 16 trainees in 2003. The average intake from 2003 - 2011 has been 12 trainees. A total of 169 trainees have been enrolled in the last 19 years. Of the 143 trainees enrolled by 2009, 136 (95%) have graduated. The part-time program has had one cohort graduating with 5 out 10 successfully completing the course. Since the launch of the program, the majority of the graduates have filled most of the key public health positions and even so the positions in most of the nongovernmental organisations.

Pan African Medical Journal 2011; 10(Supp1):12