The Zimbabwe Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) was established in 1993 as one of the Public Health Schools without Walls (PHSWOW) an initiative of the Rockefeller Foundation. Zimbabwe was the first country in Africa to develop a Master of Public Health program. Drawing upon its experience, subsequent programs were launched in Uganda, Ghana, and Vietnam. In 2017, the TEPHINET global public health accrediting body accredited the Zimbabwean program making it one of the eight programs to be accredited worldwide.
The Zimbabwe FETP offers a Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree that consists of 30% classroom-based learning and 70% field training. The University of Zimbabwe awards the degree. The MPH program is a joint collaboration with the Department of Community Medicine and the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC).
The program has admitted 24 successive cohorts. The program has successfully graduated 232 residents since 1993. The MPH program of the Zimbabwe FETP has trained over 90% of the current public health leadership in the country. The main achievement of the program is in line with its vision, in that it has managed to produce cadres that now occupy very influential positions within the public health system in the country. The graduates of the program have found employment in a number of sectors including Ministry of Health and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). This is evidenced by examples of high powered positions such as the Permanent Secretary of Health (Brigadier General (Retired) Dr. Gwinji and the former Minister of Health ( Dr Madzorera) to mention but a few.
The program is favorably regarded both locally and internationally as producing high quality graduates. It has become a model for the demonstration of a successful integration and collaboration between major partners in public health training like Ministry of Health, Universities, AFENET, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other partners. Over the years, the program has received exchange students coming from the United States to do their MPH practicum from the Williams College and the University of Washington.
The Program also has an Alumni Association which was established in September 2008 to promote, foster and maintain links between the Association's members and the University of Zimbabwe.
To produce public health practitioners who possess the knowledge, skills and professional attitudes required to assume leadership roles within the public health system in Zimbabwe.
To assist the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to create capacity to recruit, train, and employ public health practitioners to sustain the public health infrastructure and improve delivery of services at national, provincial, district, and municipal health authority levels.
- The program was received its accreditation from the TEPHINET Global Accrediting Body, being one of the only 3 countries in Africa to be accredited after Kenya and Cameron.
- Two residents ( Donewell Bangure and Takura Matare) have won the coveted William forge award consecutively in 2014 and 2015 at the 63rd and 64th EIS Conference in Atlanta Georgia
- Dr Sithabiso Dube and Mr Hamufare Mugauri also won the Jeffery Koplan award at the 66th EIS Conference in 2017.
- Research conducted by residents had been helpful in influencing policy for example.
a) A study on use of SMS as reminders to remind mothers to come for immunization forged a partnership with the largest mobile telecommunications giant (Econet) to improve immunisation coverage.
b) Outbreak investigations in previously non-malarias area lead to changes in prevention strategies such as IPT in pregnant women and in door residual spraying.
- The program strives to instil a scientific writing culture in residents. Over the past two years over 65 publications have been realised in peer-reviewed journals.
- The program has managed to set up a student exchange program with the University of Washington. Two Zimbabwean residents (2017-18) cohort have since been deployed on a 6 weeks exchange program.
Limitations and Challenges
The program has faced a number of challenges and limitations over the recent years.
- The increase in the intake of residents from a low as 5 to 20 has not been matched with an increase in the number of field coordinators in the program as well as field supervisors at the field sites. This has resulted in increased workload for the few faculty members that are available.
- Lack of funding for administrative and also fieldwork of the residents.
- Seek for alternative funding sources
- Expand and maintain the student exchange program to other regional and international institutions
- Strengthen the monitoring and evaluation component of the program.
Ministry of health and Child Care Zimbabwe
University of Zimbabwe, College of health Sciences
Parastatals: National AIDS Councils, City health Departments
NGOs: EGPAF, Cordaid, IOM, ZICHIRE
Regional and International Affiliations
African Field Epidemiology Training Network (AFENET)
Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET)
United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
For Contact, Program Director
Proffesor Mufuta Tshimanga
Health Studies Office
Office 3-64 Kaguvi Building