Health dept arranges training on disease surveillance

KARACHI: The introductory workshop on disease surveillance and outbreak response was held in Karachi in which more than 100 senior medical doctors from Department of Health Sindh including Syed Miran Mohammad Shah participated. They were trained to detect disease outbreaks in a better way.

The teaching material was prepared by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA and delivered by internationally trained faculty of FELTP Pakistan included Brigadier (Retd) Dr Kammaludin Soomro, Dr Musa Rahim, Dr Tamkeen Ghafoor, Dr Zakir Hussain, Dr Naveed Masood Memon, and Tabinda Malik.

The workshop was arranged in collaboration with Department of Health Sindh & Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme-Pakistan (FELTP), Division of Field Epidemiology and Surveillance, and National Institute of Health (NIH). It was another effort of the Ministry of National Health Services and Regulations and Coordination to improve the capacity of disease surveillance and outbreak response in the country.

Secretary Health Sindh Syed Ahmed Mangnejo in his message to the audience expressed his full commitment to strengthen public health in the province including effective disease surveillance and outbreak response. He has visited CDC, Atlanta and has witnessed that how an effective public health agency could contribute to the health of its population. He hoped that with the support of FELTP, DoH Sindh will enhance its capacities to improve service for the people of Sindh.

Resident Adviser FELTP Dr Rana Jawad Asghar informed the audience about such programs which are operational in 60 countries globally. In 2006, Pakistan became 32nd such country to start FELTP program on the request of then Ministry of Health, Pakistan.

He further informed: “Till now, 87 doctors, nominated by their respective federal/provincial departments of health, have completed two years intensive training in field epidemiology while 46 are currently under training.” Federal and four provincial disease surveillance and response units have been established at each Director General Health offices, staffed by current FELTP fellows assisting provinces in improving disease surveillance and outbreak response.

Since 2011, 63 fellows trained by FELTP are assisting in critical polio work as NSTOP Officers (National Stop Transmission of Polio). In next few months FELTP will launch a three-month basic course to address the needs of frontline health professionals.

Special Secretary Health Dr Shireen Narejo reiterated the fact that Department of Health Sindh will support expanding the field of epidemiology discipline to ensure better capacity to detect the disease outbreaks. Director General Health Dr Syed Hassan Murad Shah informed the audience about the efforts made by department of health, Sindh in strengthening the disease surveillance in the province.