Recent Graduates of Cambodia’s FETP Use Their Frontline Training to Respond to COVID-19

When the first COVID-19 case appeared in Cambodia in January 2020, the Ministry of Health (MOH) had little capacity to investigate the case and conduct contract tracing — two activities crucial to track and control the spread of the disease. However, Cambodia had 16 responders, graduates of the country’s first FETP-Frontline training course, ready to step into action. After a training session, the responders became Cambodia’s first group of COVID-19 contact tracers.

Since 2011, the Cambodia FETP (called the Applied Epidemiology Training Program) has been conducting a 4-week basic epidemiology course followed by a 6-month in-service course on surveillance and field studies. In May 2019, staff from the U.S. CDC, World Health Organization (WHO), and Cambodia MOH evaluated the program and recommended adding a Frontline training course.

This 3-month basic course quickly prepares public health workers to support local outbreak response and is part of a three-tiered FETP training model (Frontline, Intermediate, and Advanced). In late 2019, a group of 16 residents joined the first FETP-Frontline course, which included 2.5 weeks of classroom training combined with mentored field assignments spread over 3 months.

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