Zambia Defense Force Frontline FETP Graduates Ready for Public Health Challenges

Defense Force frontline graduates with invited guests posing for a group photo .

Defense Force frontline graduates with invited guests. Seated from the left to the right: Mr. Warren Malambo -FETP public Health specialist under CDC; Brig Gen (Dr) Jackson Kasela-Director General Defence Force Medical services; Professor Roma  Chilengi – Director General, ZNPHI; Ms Millcent Mwenda- Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defense; Dr Steven Wiersmas – USA Defense Health Attache’and Regional Director for Africa; Brig Gen (Dr) Chipampe Chisoko – Chief of Health Services-Zambia National Service; Lt/col Harriet Chiyangi – FETP mentor.

Dr Nyambe Sinyange with Defense Force graduates and invited Military leaders
Dr Nyambe Sinyange with Defense Force graduates and invited Military leaders

With a successful graduation of the Frontline Field Epidemiology Training Programme (FETP) for Defence Force on 3rd January 2024, Zambia’s FETP has made a major advancement in strengthening public health preparedness. Out of the 24 military personnel, 22 successfully completed the training; the other two were unable to finish because they were assigned to other equally significant national obligations. This graduation represents a turning point since military personnel with specific training in epidemiology and disease intelligence are now prepared to support the country’s public health security initiatives.

The Zambia Frontline FETP is a thorough training programme created to improve district-level health professionals’ ability to respond to public health emergencies. Launched, in 2015, in partnership with the US CDC, the programme gives participants the tools necessary tools to investigate, monitor, and control outbreaks of diseases, ensuring a rapid and coordinated response. To date Zambia FETP has graduated 306 health workers from15 cohorts.

Recognizing the interconnectedness of public health and national security, Zambia’s Defence Forces have embraced the importance of investing in public health training for their personnel. The integration of epidemiological expertise within the military not only enhances the health and well-being of military personnel but also ensures a rapid and coordinated response to potential health threats within and beyond the military community.

The Frontline FETP addresses many important subjects, including  data analysis, epidemic investigation, epidemiological surveillance, and communication techniques. Graduates of the military have received intense training that combines academic study with real-world field experience. With this comprehensive approach, graduates are certain to be equipped to tackle the intricacies of public health issues. Throughout the programme, the Zambian Defence Forces graduation cohort has shown remarkable commitment and proficiency. They have effectively finished fieldwork tasks in the real world, aiding in the monitoring and management of numerous infectious diseases. Their capacity to react quickly and efficiently to public health emergencies has improved as a result of this practical experience.

Zambia’s national health security is improved by the Defence Forces’ incorporation of frontline field epidemiologists. The country is better positioned to safeguard its inhabitants, including military personnel, from the potential threats presented by infectious illnesses by having professionals trained to handle health crises.

The successful completion of the Frontline FETP by Zambia’s Defense Forces opens avenues for collaboration between the military and public health institutions. This synergy will strengthen the nation’s overall response to health emergencies and create a sustainable framework for ongoing collaboration in the future.

As the graduates go back to their workplaces within the Defense Forces, their expertise will serve as a cornerstone for building a resilient and responsive health system, safeguarding the nation against potential threats.

Guest of Honor awards a certificate to Capt. Tendai Mpande
Participants listening to a presentation on field work conducted by one of the graduates
One of the graduates presenting her field work on surveillance problem analysis
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January 2024

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