The project will also develop para-veterinary training modules to provide refresher training and hands-on skills development in zoonotic diseases, emerging infectious disease prevention, One Health and biosecurity, for existing para-veterinarians and associated animal health workforce in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu.
The team brought together and upskill frontline healthcare practitioners through running training programs such as the Advanced Field Epidemiology Training Program in PNG (A-FETPNG).
This program involved fellows who identified national priority areas and key focus areas for operational research. They then worked with policy makers, program managers, educators and health care workers to address these priority areas.
Around the world, having sufficient people trained in contact tracing has proven to be one of the key factors to successfully containing outbreaks of COVID-19, as well as other infectious diseases.
At the end of this project, FEiA will have trained up to 42 staff in field epidemiology who can conduct surveillance and implement public health interventions to help health authorities respond more quickly and effectively to disease outbreaks such as COVID-19.
At the end of the project, Pacific Island countries will have a cadre of well-trained field epidemiologists who can conduct co-ordinated disease surveillance and outbreak investigation, as well as carry out research to inform local and regional health priorities.
APCOVE will bring together 40 experts from veterinary schools across Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the Asia-Pacific to design open source, online training modules and case studies, that will be used to train veterinarians in core epidemiological skills. The modules and case studies will teach several of the World Organisation for Animal Health’s Critical Competencies of the Performance of Veterinary Services, building skills in outbreak investigation and response; surveillance and data analysis; risk assessment and disease control; one health and biosecurity and leadership and communication.
Across the Indo-Pacific, gaps in workforce capacity present a major health security threat. Australians have great expertise to offer countries across the Indo-Pacific in preventing, detecting and responding to infectious disease threats. The Health Security Corps was established to deploy volunteers and build capacity for the prevention, detection and control of infectious disease.
Following a halt to assignments in 2020, Health Security Corps positions are again being listed through Australian Volunteers.
Epidemiologists play a critical role in national and regional health security. Sometimes known as “disease detectives”, epidemiologists collect and analyse data from the field to understand the causes of infectious disease outbreaks and advise on containment measures.