FELTP mandate was designed in recognition of the need to strengthen the epidemiologic capacity to meet the challenges of the emerging infectious and non-infectious diseases and other public health problems in Kenya. To achieve this, FELTP carries out the following activities:
Basic Level Training
The Basic Level Field Epidemiology Training was started in 2014 in recognition of the need to have more frontline health workers at the health facility, sub-county and county levels, who can use surveillance data for decision making, conduct data quality assessment as a routine and be able to detect, report, and respond to unusual public health events. It provides an open-admissions process that targets a broad spectrum of health care workers in public service. The goal of the training is to:
- Increase epidemiology and surveillance capacity at national, county and sub-county levels
- Decrease the time between training and operational capacity of those trained
- Provide a pipeline for better-prepared candidates for the intermediate and advanced-level training provided by the FELTP.
The length of the basic Level Field Epidemiology Training is two months, and requires that the participants remain on their jobs during the training except for two and a half weeks of theoretical training. So far, 18 groups have been enrolled (686 health care workers) into basic epidemiology course and 593 have graduated from all the 47 counties in Kenya.
Intermediate Level Training
Just like the Basic Level EPI training, this training was started in 2014 in recognition of the need to have more frontline health workers at the health facility, sub-county, and county levels, who can use surveillance data for decision making, conduct data quality assessment as a routine and be able to detect, report, and respond to unusual public health events. It is a six months on-job training. The graduates of Basic Level training are eligible for this training. The graduates of this training can:
- Undertake more advanced analysis
- Undertake outbreak investigations
- Conduct DQA
- Conceive and implement operational research
- Work with graduates of basic to improve use of data and response to outbreaks
Currently FELTP has graduated 108 public health officers in this level.
Advanced Level Training
The Advanced level training offered by the Kenya FELTP is a two-year training in field and applied epidemiology, and public health leading to a Master of Science degree in Field Epidemiology. The training aims to increase the epidemiological workforce capacity in Kenya by training public health professionals on knowledge and skills for enhanced disease surveillance, outbreak investigations and response nationwide. The training is offered by the Ministry Health (MOH) in collaboration with Moi University, School of Public Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The FELTP Advanced Level Training emphasizes on service, providing real results to the health sector as the residents pursue a Master of Science degree in Field Epidemiology.
The training is designed in a way that learning through discrete classroom based lectures and case studies must be applied during larger periods of field placement. The field epidemiology component is similar to programmes that have been established in over 25 other countries and is modelled after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2 year Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) training programme. Successful completion of the advance level training will require completion of academic requirements as well as field placement and the required competencies.
189 residents have graduated from this level and are located in various counties in Kenya while others are working in various international organizations. Currently, cohorts 17 and 18 are in session.
The outbreak investigation is an important and challenging component of epidemiology and public health that helps to identify the source of ongoing outbreaks, inform response and control measures and develop strategies to prevent future outbreaks. A thorough epidemiologic and environmental investigation of an outbreak often increases the knowledge of a new or known disease. FELTP takes the lead in outbreak investigations in Kenya and jointly works with the Department of Disease Surveillance and Response Unit (D.S.R.U.), Kenya County governments and other stakeholders to respond to various outbreaks in the country. In the process, FELTP provides data for decision making at various levels. FELTP residents and alumni (epidemiologists) under the guidance of faculty supervisors and mentors are usually engaged in these investigations. Occasionally, FELTP residents, alumni and faculty are involved in international outbreak investigations outside Kenya, such as Ebola outbreak investigation.
In addition to supporting the processes that lead to establishment of D.S.R.U Emergency Operation Center (E.O.C.) in Kenya, two to three residents are placed at EOC on a two-week rotation. The objective is to provide additional persons to support operations at EOC and also make sure that all residents understand how EOC operates. The rotations have specific deliverables to make sure the residents learn while also providing service and become prepared to start a mini-EOC in their own counties once they graduate.
Surveillance is the foundation for immediate and long-term strategies for combating infectious diseases as it provides information to guide interventions. We work with various stakeholders to design, implement and evaluate surveillance systems used to measure disease burden, identify populations in need and understand barriers to care and treatment. We support data collection, analysis and use for public health decision-making and also enhance case reporting systems. We build capacity of county health care workers and staff in other ministries, to use data to prioritize limited resources and to implement evidence-based interventions to control outbreaks.
The Birth Defects Surveillance is one of the surveillance systems established in Kenya by the Ministry Of Health through K-FELTP in partnership with the CDC. The surveillance system is currently implemented in 15 county hospitals in Kenya.