By Ali Imran
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan- Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP), National Institutes of Health (NIH) Islamabad in collaboration with Japan-FETP, organized a special online session on the “Role of FETPs in Disease Surveillance and Prevention/Control of Diseases”.
This session was originally initiated with good communication and collaboration between the Pakistan Center for Disease Control (CDC) of NIH and the Embassy of Japan in Islamabad during the challenging time of COVID-19.
The session aimed to highlight the crucial role of Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) in disease surveillance, prevention, and control. FETPs are basically designed to train public health professionals in the field of epidemiology and enable them to support the development and enhancement of surveillance systems for the timely detection and reporting of diseases.
Hitoshi Kikawada, a member of the House of Representatives of Japan Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and former State Minister of the Cabinet Office in charge of Policies against COVID-19 was the chief guest of the session. Fellows from the FETPs, health experts, and partners also attended.
In his video message, Kikawada, stated “We have faced a pandemic of COVID-19 for more than three years and have understood that infectious diseases have changed our economies and societies dramatically and overcoming infectious diseases has become one of the most important issues of the human beings”. He also said that Japan has dealt with COVID-19 successfully. Japan has contributed to universal healthcare with ODA for a long time and through these experiences, Japan can play a more active role in medical areas in Asia.
In this sense it is wonderful that Japan and Pakistan have been working in these medical areas, he mentioned.
During the session, a representative from CDC Pakistan and Dr.Tomimasa Sunagawa, MD Director, Center of Field Epidemic Intelligence, Research and Professional Development, National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan gave lectures, focusing on disease outbreak investigation and the strengthening of the surveillance system for the timely detection and reporting of infections.
They also emphasized the significance of tracking disease trends and implementing prompt interventions and preventative measures.
Talking about the Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs), they added that these programs promote collaboration among various stakeholders, including public health agencies, academic institutions, and international organizations.
By training epidemiologists and supporting surveillance activities, FETPs help build resilient health systems capable of responding to disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies.