Regional Training for Field Epidemiology Fellows in Risk Assessment for Acute Public Health Events
22 to 24 October 2012
Surveillance, risk assessment and response are vital to public health security and, as such, form the first focus area under the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases (APSED) 2010. The workplan for this strategy was endorsed by the Asia Pacific Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Manila, Philippines in July 2011.
Risk assessment for public health events, an essential requirement for compliance to the International Health Regulations (2005), has required development of systematic tools to enable implementation at national levels in Member States. Risk assessment enhances the interpretation of surveillance data collected and provides a basis for a proportionate response. Tools for assessing risk in acute phase events are now ready to roll out to Member States.
Building human resource capacity for undertaking surveillance, risk assessment and response for public health has led to the international establishment of field epidemiology training (FET) programmes. In the WHO Western Pacific Region, Member States have established FET programmes. Trainees and recent graduates require skills in risk assessment and further education for strengthening and maintaining currency in their profession. This benefits not only the Member States but also benefits WPRO through providing future informal contacts for enhancing assessment of event-based surveillance. During this time in Manila, the 'WPRO FET fellows' became aware of risk assessment and various tools during their development. Those who have completed the 'WPRO FET fellows' time should now be updated on the finalized tools that will most commonly be used on a day-to-day basis.
A proposed regional workshop will be held in Tokyo, Japan to further train people who have completed the 'WPRO FET fellows' programme in order to improve their capacity in the use of risk assessment tools. The National Institute of Infectious Disease (NIID) in Tokyo is the risk assessment body for infectious disease and the home for the FET Programme in Japan. The attendees include WPRO FET fellows and designated officers for risk assessment of public health events from the public health institutes and the Ministry of Health. Following instruction in the use of the tools, the attendees will introduce the tools most appropriate to everyday use to the field epidemiology trainees in their respective countries.
The objectives of this training are:
- to upgrade the skills of Regional Office for the Western Pacific FET fellows in risk assessment methods for deciding the appropriate level of response to acute public health events; and
- to strengthen coordinated and collaborative Regional risk assessment for acute public health events through networking of field epidemiologists.