April 03, 2022
The numbers and roles of FETPs has grown since the establishment of the program, and just recently, FETPs have played an essential role in managing the COVID-19 pandemic. This development has made the sustainability of the FETP more fundamental than ever before.
Among the main factors contributing to FETP sustainability are, institutionalization, political commitment, and funding. Additionally, FETP sustainable is further ensured through strong collaboration between stakeholders of the program.
To shed light on this issue further, the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET) recently held a regional workshop titled “The Sustainability of FETP in the EMR”. Taking place in Amman between March 21 and March 23, 2022, the workshop brought together FETP Directors, Advisors, and representatives from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, and Yemen.
The objective of the three-day workshop was to agree on approaches that assist in sustaining FETPs in the EMR countries. Also present in the workshop were representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention including; CDC Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) Dr. Heather Burke, and Senior Public Health Advisor at CDC Mr. Bassam Jarrar. They both shed light during the workshop opening on the importance of achieving sustainability for the region’s FETPs, especially considering the current public health challenges facing the world at large.
In his opening remarks, EMPHNET Executive Director Dr Mohannad Al Nsour stated that the role of FETPs within their countries’ health systems is one that is increasing in significance year and after year, He further added that FETP residents and graduates continue to respond multiple natural disasters . They have conducted hundreds of investigations including surveillance evaluations, outbreak responses and planned studies, and their role was clearly marked in the pandemic. Furthermore, graduates are assuming influential positions in their respective ministries. Thus, FETP residents and graduates have improved health policies and contributed to the strengthening of health systems in their countries, but the challenges affecting the sustainability of these programs remains.
Through this workshop participants were required to work together towards creating sustainability plans that they can go back to their country to implement. Thus, the larger portion of the workshop included group activities geared towards creating sustainability frameworks.
Topics addressed during the workshop included the Global Field Epidemiology Roadmap, concepts and approaches to achieving sustainability, FETP institutionalization and resource mobilization, accreditation and partnerships, amongst other topics.
Representatives of the region’s FETPs also shared their country experiences highlighting where they are in their journey towards achieving sustainability and the steps they yet need to take towards achieving this goal.
Towards the end of the workshop, a timeline was set for country programs to share their sustainability plans. The timeline was set for three months from the closing date of the workshop.
The workshop was deemed a successful endeavor bringing with it a clear consensus on the way forward towards FETP sustainability in the EMR.