The Field Epidemiology Training Program-Liberia, established by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has revealed that 5,893 suspected cases of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) across the country tested negative.
The Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) – the first of its kind in the country – was established in collaboration with Emory University (USA) and African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET).
The suspected Ebola cases were recorded in the 15 counties during surveillance to report and control diseases and other health problems. The investigation was done at 91 health districts, 718 health centers as well as swabbing of dead bodies.
Liberia was twice certificated ‘free-for-now’ from Ebola transmissions and is now in her 90 day period of heightened surveillance.
Madam Leela Zaizay, the Public Heath Lead at the Ministry of Health and a graduate of the FETP Basic Course, made the report yesterday during the closing ceremony of the Basic FETP held at the Emergency Operation Center in Congo Town, outside Monrovia.
The report said Grand Gedeh County had the highest number of suspected Ebola cases (1,676), followed by Grand Bassa County (1,015) and Lofa County (130).
Going further, the report said besides the suspected Ebola cases, there were also 2,345 suspected cases of acute watery diarrhea followed by 37 suspected cases of measles.
Madam Zaizay said the training improved the surveillance, epidemiology, response and scientific communication skills of public health workers at the district, county and national levels.
The FETP basic training lasted for three months, (August – November) and focused on fundamental skills used in frontline surveillance and response for diseases in Liberia, or anywhere in the world.
Thirty Students were presented with certificates including 15 County Surveillance Officers (CSOs), 13 District Surveillance Officers (DSOs – 7 from Montserrado and 6 from Nimba counties) and two others.
The certificates were signed by Thomas R. Freiden, Director, US – CDC, Prof. James W. Curran, Dean of Public Health, Emory University and Health Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn.
Making remarks, Herbert Kazoora of AFENET, Desmond Williams, Country Director of CDC-Liberia and Dr. Emmanuel Musa, Deputy Country Representative of WHO, separately pledged their support and challenged the participants to serve as ambassadors in frontline surveillance and response.
Deputy Health Minister Nyenswah thanked the partners on behalf of the government for their support and indicated that the program will help the district and county health officers as well as other public health workers learn new epidemiology skills and techniques for investigating diseases and other health problems.
“Disease outbreaks will not end with Ebola, so you are important to us to identify early signals of an epidemic, for us to respond faster,” Minister Nyenswah said.