The first batch of public health workers to be trained under the Caribbean Regional Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme has graduated.
The 15-member group, drawn from the laboratory, nursing and environmental public sector divisions, received their certificates yesterday during a graduation ceremony at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church.
Barbados was the first of 11 Caribbean countries that launched the training programme last May. It is designed to build capacity in the region to prevent disease and promote health.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John, told the audience at the graduation ceremony that at the end of the nine-month course, participants now had a better understanding of how to address public health issues, such as outbreak investigation.
She explained that they reviewed surveillance systems in the fields such as hypertension, asthma, dengue, leptospirosis and sexually-transmitted infections, and were able to identify strengths and weaknesses. As a result, they made relevant recommendations on how the systems could be improved.
The Chief Medical Officer said she looked forward to the active participation of the trainees in future outbreak investigations, and called on institutional managers to support their involvement in this area.
The training programme was facilitated by the Caribbean Public Health Agency and funded by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.