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Federal Government to train ‘disease detectives’ to prevent epidemics

By Chukwuma Muanya, Assistant Editor
03 July 2017   |   4:37 am
The Federal Government has disclosed plans to train “public health disease detectives” to prevent epidemics.

Photo: AP

The Federal Government has disclosed plans to train “public health disease detectives” to prevent epidemics.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, made the disclosure at the weakened.

He said the experts would create a platform for epidemiologists and public health physicians to share their scientific work with the public health audience.

The NCDC and the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NFELTP) are expected to host the second annual scientific conference in Abuja from July 5 to 7, 2017.

The forum would discuss capacity building to curtail future epidemics that could cause more havoc. The theme of the conference is “Strengthening One Health through Field Epidemiology Training.”

The conference became necessary to address the challenges that followed the outbreak of Ebola, Lassa fever and meningitis in the country and the West African region.

These detectives would provide valuable information that could be used to determine, not only where the next outbreak might happen, but also how it may be prevented.

The NCDC would coordinate the response to public health emergencies and enhance the country’s preparedness to check epidemics through the prevention, detection and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Ihekweazu stressed that NFELTP is a collaborative effort by the NCDC, Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), University of Ibadan, Ahmadu Bello University and the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET).

The programme is supported by the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC).

According to him, the NFELTP has three distinct tracks, the medical, veterinary and laboratory tracks, and trains applied epidemiologists with emphasis on the “One Health” approach.

Also, the National Coordinator of NFELTP, Dr. Patrick Nguku, said: “The theme of this year’s conference was borne out of the need to demonstrate utility of the One Health approach beyond training.”

He said: “NFELTP residents, graduates and other public health experts will highlight the findings from their applied epidemiology field activity projects to include outbreak investigation, surveillance, secondary data analysis and planned protocol-based studies.