CIFAL Newcastle

22 March 2024, Newcastle, Australia - The University of Newcastle and CIFAL Newcastle in collaboration with Hunter New England LHD, and Menzies School of Health Research recently hosted the graduation ceremony for the newest graduating Fellows of the Field Epidemiology Training Programme of Papua New Guinea (FETPNG) at NUspace. The nine-month programme aims to strengthen health systems and improve health through field epidemiology. 

James Flint, the programme lead of Hunter New England LHD and Conjoint Fellow of the School of Medicine and Public Health of the University of Newcastle, said:

The graduation of the Timor-Leste and Vanuatu fellows was a very significant milestone; they are the first graduates from their respective countries to complete this intervention-focused intermediate Field Epidemiology Training Programme. Both Timor-Leste and Vanuatu plan to launch their own national programmes this year which is very exciting; these graduates will be a key part of establishing these national programmes.

This FETP model from Papua New Guinea is unique in its focus on interventions,” said James. “Not only do fellows gain skills in disease surveillance, outbreak response, data analysis, and operational research, they design, implement, and evaluate an intervention project designed to strengthen their health system. The impact these fellows are having individually and collectively is truly amazing.

At the graduation ceremony, which was held in February 2024, the Fellows presented their projects:

  • ‘Reducing contamination of blood culture specimens in the Paediatric Department of a hospital in, Dili, Timor-Leste’ by Dr Ari Jayanti Pereira Tilman
  •  ‘Vaccine preventable disease surveillance training for sentinel site staff in Shefa Province, Vanuatu’ by Ms Aleesha Kalulu
  • ‘Implementation of hepatitis B screening test at health facilities, Efate, Vanuatu’ by Ms Rubby Leiwia Dick
  • ‘Decreasing dengue cases through public health interventions in Dili, Timor-Leste’ by Dr Filipe de Neri Machado

Certificates were presented by Conjoint Professor David Durrheim, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, and Director Health Protection, Hunter New England LHD and by Mr. Steve Wheatley CIFAL Newcastle.

The Fellows have spent the last nine months learning about disease surveillance, outbreak response and using health data to make evidence-based decisions about improving their health system. It was incredible to see all of the Fellows’ achievements throughout the training and their plans for continuing to improve public health in their communities.

said principal trainer Dr Megge Miller, Epidemiologist, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle.

Field epidemiology training programmes are designed so the Fellows learn on the job in their existing role within the health system,” said Megge. “They learn how to collect, manage, and analyse data to inform evidence-based decision-making. During the programme, the Fellows need to design, implement, and evaluate a public health intervention. Often, the Fellows continue their interventions after graduating which helps improve the health system.

CIFAL Newcastle
CIFAL Newcastle
CIFAL Newcastle

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