One of the pillars in broadening Universal Health Care (UHC) is the strengthening of epidemiology and surveillance units (ESUs) to enable them to capably respond to threats of existing and emerging diseases. To help realize this, The Cordillera Center for Health Development of the Department of Health (DOH-CHD-CAR) Regional Director and President of the Field Epidemiology Training Program Alumni Foundation Inc. (FETPAFI) Dr. Rio Magpantay spearheaded a collaboration between DOH-CAR and DOH-Ilocos Region, through their respective Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) heads Karen Lonogan and Dr. Rosario Pamintuan, to conduct the first Inter-regional Field Epidemiology Training Program-Intermediate Course in North Luzon (FETP-IC-NL) which ultimately aims to develop human resources in the field of epidemiology and public health in both regions.
The nine-month training course, conducted in coordination with the South Asia Field Epidemiology and Technology Network Inc. (SAFETYNET) was opened in 2022 to all interested individuals from allied health professions in northern Luzon. The training program consisted of a series of lectures, capped off with the conduct of an epidemiologic research study from each trainee in their own practice. Such studies were presented in a scientific conference in front of panelists and judges from different fields of related expertise, who critiqued each study and provided points for improvement. Study topics ranged from vector-borne diseases, food and water-borne illnesses to special reports and other diseases. These studies can serve as a basis for developing strategies and making policies to appropriately address their respective health concerns.
The FETP-IC-NL culminated with a graduation ceremony held last February 17, 2023 with the theme, “Field Epidemiology as Catalyst for a Unified and Integrated Health Systems toward Universal Health Care” for a total of eighteen trainees, consisting of six from the Ilocos and twelve from the Cordillera regions completing the course successfully.
Notable guests in attendance included former DOH Secretary Dr. Manuel Dayrit, head of the North Luzon Field Implementation and Coordination Team (FICT-NL) Usec. Enrique Tayag, Director III of Epidemiology Bureau Dr. Gloria Nenita Velasco, Center for Disease Control (CDC) Philippines Director Dr. Romel Lacson, SAFETYNET Executive Director Dr. Maria Consortia Quizon, CHD-CAR Assistant Regional Director Dr. Janice Bugtong, CHD-Ilocos Regional Director Dr. Paula Paz Sydiongco and ARD Dr. Rodolfo Antonio Albernoz.