March 28, 2022
On Saturday, March 26, 2022, the Iraq Field Epidemiology Training Program (Iraq FETP) celebrated the graduation of the first cohort of the Public Health Empowerment Program-Basic Field Epidemiology (PHEP-BFE) of Kurdistan, Iraq in Erbil.
The cohort consisted of 25 graduates all of whom completed the program’s three-month training requirements. Their three-month training included field work as well as sessions on the basic skills needed to conduct effective public health surveillance, outbreak investigation and other soft skills.
The graduation ceremony was attended by H/E the Minister of Health of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Dr. Saman Barzanji, Director General of Public Health Directorates, Dr. Riyadh Alhilfi, Iraq FETP Director, Dr. Yasir Majeed, EMPHNET’s Workforce Capacity Team Leader, Dr. Haitham Bashier, representatives from EMPHNET, senior health officials from the Ministry of Health of (KRG) as well as FETP residents and mentors.
In his speech, Dr. Saman Barzanji stated that the inauguration of Public Health Empowerment Program – Basic Field Epidemiology (PHEP-BFE) in Kurdistan is a result of efforts made to expand the reach of current FETPs by building capacity at different health system levels in the region.
Furthermore, Dr. Riyadh Alhilfi stated that the launch of the first cohort of the Public Health Empowerment Program in Kurdistan is only a steppingstone leading to the establishment of intermediate and advanced FETP cohorts in the future. He further added that he looks forward to further collaboration with EMPHNET and other entities in order to continue to contribute to elevating public health status in Kurdistan.
From his end, Dr. Haitham Bashier congratulated the Iraqi FETP on this milestone on behalf of EMPHNET. He stated that he is very proud to witness these programs develop and contribute to enhancing skills and competencies of public health professionals. Dr. Bashier also thanked the graduates and their mentors for their hard work and commitment to continue to strengthen their country’s public health system.
The program strengthens and improves the basic skills and competencies of FETP residents in areas of surveillance, detection, and outbreak response. The skills gained form this training will build public health professionals’ capacities to respond to health threats, at both the provincial and district levels, and it will provide them with the skills they need to manage epidemics and outbreaks at the local level.