field epidemiology and outbreak investigation,
Training in surveillance and response adapted to Pacific Island needs and realities is one of the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN) strategies. Since 2001, when EpiNet was created and the EpiNet teams identified by the Pacific Island countries and territories, the targets for PPHSN training activities have been the EpiNet team members.
In 2003, CDC/PIHOA1 and SPC jointly organised a training course in field epidemiology and outbreak investigation in Guam, from 6 to 11 October, for EpiNet team members and other interested health professionals of the US-affiliated jurisdictions. This course was conducted with CDC bioterrorism funds.
In all, 27 health professionals participated in the course: 5 from the Federated States of Micronesia (Yap, Chuuk and Pohnpei), 13 from Guam the host territory, 5 from the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and 3 from Palau.
Facilitators included Dr Mike O’Leary (CDC/PIHOA Regional Epidemiologist), Dr Tom Kiedrzynski (SPC Epidemiologist), Dr Narendra Singh (Senior Lecturer at the Fiji School of Medicine, FSMed), Mr Edward Diaz (Epidemiologist in CNMI), Dr Bob Haddock (Territorial Epidemiologist in Guam) and Dr Jean-Paul Chaine (PIHOA Regional Epidemiologist based in Pohnpei).
This course was inspired by the one held in Pohnpei in November 2002 (see Inform’ACTION #13), but the content was slightly different and tailored to meet expected needs. PPHSN partners now have good training materials that can be used for subsequent courses (with different options according to needs).
Part of the cholera exercise from the CD-ROM developed by Kevin Carroll was also used during the course. The CD-ROM is an excellent training resource.
Last but not least, this course was the first one to be accredited by FSMed. It is an accreditation internal to FSMed. if those who succeed in this course want to start a longer training at FSMed, they can take more advanced options in epidemiology and outbreak investigation.
CDC = Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
PIHOA = Pacific Island Health Officers Association
SPC = Secretariat of the Pacific Community