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US commits to supporting epidemiology training

US Ambassador Natalie Brown (C) at the launch of the Intermediate Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in Uganda.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The US Ambassador to Uganda, Natalie Brown, has reaffirmed their commitment towards fostering epidemiology training with the aim of strengthening Uganda’s health systems in response to disease outbreaks.

Speaking at the launch of the Field Epidemiology Training Program-FETP in Jinja city on Tuesday, Natalie said that the US Center for Disease Control-CDC aims to empower frontline health workers with the required skills needed in response to epidemics and other related illnesses within their areas of operations.

The nine months cohort training has attracted 17 health workers from four referral hospitals namely Fort Portal, China-Uganda friendship hospital Naguru, Kabale, Entebbe and selected health ministry staff.

The USD 240,000 training program will comprise both classroom and field training aimed at equipping participants with the required hands on skills in the fight against disease outbreaks across all sectors within the public health service delivery chain.

According to Natalie, the selected participants will acquire extensive knowledge about public health threats and how best they can react in such circumstances.

She also revealed that the USA government is committed to supporting Uganda’s Covid-19 response through donation of more vaccines and their safe delivery to different parts of the country. Natalie noted that Covid-19 can be easily defeated when countries agree to share information, experiences and resources in the management of the pandemic.

Alex Ario, the Director of Uganda National Institute of Public Health in the Ministry of Health, said that such training was majorly a privilege of high-ranking health workers at the national level. He noted that with the current financial boost and expertise from the CDC, they have managed to design training programs for field epidemiologists who are mandated with offering front line response in the face of new disease outbreaks.

Solomon Mugarura, the COVID-19 response team leader at Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital said that he has earned surveillance skills, which will help him to professionally investigate the extent of damage posed by epidemics and how best to contain their spread within the surrounding communities.

Annet Mbeiza, a medical records officer from China-Uganda friendship hospital Naguru, said that she has earned the requisite knowledge to ease the capturing of the necessary data required to support frontline health workers to offer a timely response in different disease outbreak hit communities.

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