ISLAMABAD-National Institute of Health in collaboration with the Punjab Health Department on Monday launched a 3-month frontline field epidemiology training programme for its district-level surveillance staffers to tackle the challenge of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

A statement issued by Ministry of National Health Services said that Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (FELTP will execute the programme. It also said that the initiative was aimed at imparting skills in collection, analysis and interpretation of most relevant district data thereby leading to early detection and generation of timely and appropriate response to the disease outbreaks as soon as they occur.

The high-value skill-based training will be imparted by seasoned experts from NIH, FELTP and the Punjab health department.

A total of 24 officers including district surveillance coordinators and entomologists from different districts of Punjab participated in the weeklong first contact session of the course inaugurated in Lahore today; jointly by Executive Director NIH and the Director General Health Services.

Besides Dr Haroon Jahangir, DGHS Dr Shaheen, Director CDC and Dr Saeed, Director EPI from Punjab Health Department, the inaugural session was also participated by Dr Rana Safdar, executive director and chief disease surveillance division NIH as well as Dr Salman, chief of its public health laboratories diagnostic division along with senior faculty of the FELTP Pakistan.

“Rapid population growth couple with unplanned urbanisation, challenges of safe water and sanitation has serious implications for health, the load of which ultimately falls on national healthcare system. We all have to our part to play for a meaningful difference on ground”, remarked Dr Rana Safdar, the ED NIH.

“The training of frontline workers will enable our district public health officer to critically analyze the available data generated through multiple means and generate useful information for action by our district heath authorities. The provincial Disease Surveillance & Response Centre at DGHS Lahore will be further equipped to optimally support the district teams in the advent of an outbreak”, said Dr Haroon Jahangir, Director General Health Services Punjab.