The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) recently launched a training programme to strengthen epidemiology and laboratory capacity, required to meet the public health needs of the Caribbean region.
The primary goal of the Caribbean Regional Field Epidemiology Training Programme (CR-FELTP), a flagship training programme of CARPHA, is to build epidemiology and laboratory capacity, through practical learning that addresses current and future public health needs in the Caribbean region. This applied learning will contribute to individual professional development, but even more importantly, will strengthen public health systems and infrastructure, including human resources and health surveillance capacity to implement the revised International Health Regulations. The FELTP will train public health practitioners at different levels, using face-to-face and distance education modalities and via applied projects to support ‘learning by doing’.
In this regard, representatives from the Ministries of Health of twelve Caribbean countries covered by a cooperative agreement with the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and programme partners from the CDC, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the University of the West Indies (UWI) met in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, from 28 – 30 January.
Country representatives learned about how the programme can support their personnel to develop skills and competencies to make Caribbean public health programmes better, and to improve country and regional capacity to respond to outbreaks and emerging health threats. The representatives, who will become the in-country coordinators and trainers for the first generation of Caribbean trained Field Epidemiologists, also participated in training to orient them to adult education and the critical skills needed for the health experts who will be the “mentors” for the FELTP trainees as they learn on the job.
The Caribbean CR-FELTP will be owned and institutionalized by countries, managed by a Coordinating Team at CARPHA and guided by the Training Sub-Committee to the CARPHA Technical Advisory Committee. The programme will have a Caribbean context, be competency-based, needs-driven and address the human resource needs and aspirations of the Region. It will also address priority public health issues of the Region – communicable and non-communicable diseases, other health threats and laboratory surveillance.