Disease surveillance system evaluation as a model for improved integration and standardization of the laboratory component in the Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) curriculum worldwide
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Integration of laboratory training into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) began in 2004 and has advanced the training of laboratory scientists worldwide on the basic principles of epidemiology, disease surveillance, and outbreak investigation. The laboratory component of the FE(L)TP training has traditionally been disease specific, revolving around classroom and bench training on laboratory methods, and field placement in areas where services are needed. There is however a need to improve the integration of epidemiology elements used in surveillance, outbreak investigation, and evaluation activities with specific measurable laboratory activities that could in turn impact the overall disease surveillance and response. A systematic and clear evaluation guideline for the laboratory components of disease surveillance systems alongside the corresponding epidemiological indicators can better identify, address, and mitigate weaknesses that may exist in the entire surveillance system, and also help to integrate and standardize the FE(L)TP curriculum content. The institution of laboratory Quality Management System principles linked to a comprehensive surveillance evaluation scheme will result in improved disease surveillance, response, and overall laboratory capacity over time.
KeywordsFE(L)TP surveillance system evaluation laboratory indicators laboratory QMS laboratory assessment capacity development
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