The Herald (Harare)

13 February 2013

Zimbabwe: UZ Students to Graduate in Epidemiology

ABOUT 20 students from the University of Zimbabwe will soon graduate in disease surveillance and outbreak responses. This is expected to see a quick reaction to recurrent diarrhoeal and other diseases outbreaks .

The programme is designed to boost training to retain health care policy while enhancing Zimbabwe's capacity to deliver primary health care.

Funding for the programme was provided by the United State's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention-Zimbabwe.

The students completed the pilot programme specialising in applied epidemiology, which head of the Zimbabwe Field Epidemiology Training Programme, Professor Mufuta Tshimanga, said provides the missing pieces to current public health studies.

"With this we now anticipate, more than ever, an increased demand for further public health training by medical graduates," Professor Tshimanga said.

CDC-Zimbabwe director Mr Peter Kilmarx said the assistance was made possible through the Medical Education Partnership Initiative.

"Training medical students in core public health skills is critical to ensuring a healthy nation over the long run.

"CDC is very pleased to partner with UZ in strengthening these students' capacity to conduct disease surveillance, data analysis, and outbreak control," he said.

The epidemiology curricula and field exercises are integrated into the standard coursework developed by the medical school and its partners.

CDC-Zimbabwe, UZ and the Government of Zimbabwe has in the past partnered to provide district medical officers with hands on public health such as gathering data for decision making, managing outbreaks, conducting surveillance and response to outbreaks.

Provision of safe and adequate water, garbage collection, burst sewers continue to be a threat to public health in Zimbabwe.

This is evidenced by continuous diarrhoeal outbreaks particularly in urban areas.

Since 2008, Zimbabwe has experienced outbreaks of cholera, typhoid, common diarrhoea and measles among others.

For easy coordination and quick response to any outbreak in the country, Government in partnership with several partners have introduced the disease surveillance report capturing all cases occurring throughout the country weekly.

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