Field Epidemiology Training Programmes (FETP) has been established in over 55 countries worldwide. These programs are based upon the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2-year residency training program in applied epidemiology, which commenced in the 1950’s. The primary goal of these training programs is to develop field-trained epidemiologists who are competent in the practical application of epidemiological methods in a wide range of public health problems in their respective areas.

FETP residents are trained to conduct epidemiologic investigations and to manage programs public health surveillance nationally and where required, regionally.

Recent SAFETP Investigations

  • Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, 2014
  • Increased cases of diarrhoeal illness in Swaziland, July 2014
  • Acute Gastroenteritis Cases at a Home for Abandoned Children, Johannesburg, South Africa 2014
  • Investigating hearing loss in Drug Resistant-TB patients in a rural area of KwaZulu-Natal, from July 2012 – September 2013
  • Field Analysis of Insecticide Susceptibility of Anopheles Gambiae complex in Vlakbult, Mpumalanga South Africa 2012-13
  • Knowledge, attitude and practice of human rabies among primary school children, Vhembe District, Limpopo Province, South Africa, 2012
  • Determinants of Loss to Follow-up Among Patients with HIV on Anti-Retroviral treatment enrolled in a Pharmacovigilance Study, South Africa,  2004-2012
  • Risk factors for cancers among domestic workers in South Africa

SAFETP residents in the initial 6 month complete several classroom modules  and then complete the other 18 months at their assigned field site being supervised on projects that develop practical skills, knowledge and experiences in applied field epidemiology. A Masters in Public Health degree is awarded from University of Pretoria when the resident has completed the 2 year program.  Field sites can be at national, provincial or district levels of the Public Health System, National Health Laboratory Service/National Institute for Communicable Diseases or at Academic institutions or health agencies.   Trainees receive instruction and mentoring in general public health and specific diseases, depending on their field assignment, while at the same time providing service regarding national priority health issues and conditions.

Successful completion of all the requirements of the training programme graduates prepare to assume positions as national, provincial or district epidemiologists, surveillance officers or other epidemiology relevant positions in the South African Public Health system.