Building on gains, forging ahead
The Vietnam Field Epidemiology Training Program shall be taking the necessary measures to ensure that the highly successful two-year program continues to meet the international standards it has upheld over the past years. This commitment was articulated by General Department of Preventive Medicine (GDPM) head Dr. Tran Dac Phu at closing remarks given at the two-day FETP Staff Retreat.
The meeting was held in Ho Chi Minh City on March 30 to 31, 2017 to elaborate on and address challenges faced in the implementation of FETP, particularly those impacting on the quality of field work of fellows. These challenges were earlier identified during a review of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) program in Viet Nam conducted last December, 2016. The FETP Staff Retreat was held in collaboration with the key stakeholders, i.e. GDPM staff, regional institutes (RIs), WHO, US-CDC and SAFETYNET. Opening remarks at the meet were delivered by United States Consul General to Vietnam, H.E. Mary Tarnowka.
Prof. Nguyen Tran Hien and Dr. Mahomed Patel served as facilitators during the two-day retreat. Stakeholder participants reflected on their experiences, challenges, and lessons learned from the Program since its inception in 2009, and offered suggestions for addressing the identified challenges. The assembly generated valuable recommendations towards addressing issues related to recruitment of FETP fellows, field-based training and support, supervisors’ roles and responsibilities, quality of fellows’s reports, and management of the FETP.
On the last day, the Field Epidemiology Training Plan for 2016-2020 approved by the MOH was discussed. In his closing remarks, GDPM head Dr. Tran Dac Phu noted that in the near future, his Department will continue to consult with RIs in implementation of the MOH’s field epidemiology training plan. To ensure the sustainability of the program, GDPM will work with the Finance Department to reserve a portion of the government funds for the FETP to complement the support from international organizations.