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U.S. Trains ‘Disease Detectives’ for Madagascar
Cadre of epidemiologists has identified 16,500 children with incomplete immunization
September 1, 2023

CDC Resident Advisor for the President’s Malaria Initiative Anna Bowen with new members of Madagascar’s cadre of ‘disease detectives’.

The United States is strengthening the capacity of Madagascar’s health care workforce to prevent, detect, and respond to health emergencies, improve the health of the Malagasy people, and reduce global public health threats.

At a ceremony held at the National Institute of Public and Community Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Resident Advisor for the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) Anna Bowen joined the Ministry of Public Health officials to confer diplomas on 20 of the Ministry’s field epidemiologists.

“These new graduates, from all four corners of Madagascar, will help prevent, detect and respond more effectively to public health emergencies and protect the health of the Malagasy population,” Bowen said at the ceremony.  “Already members of the Ministry of Health’s workforce, these graduates will continue contributing to a stronger health system throughout their careers.”

The new graduates join 37 others who have previously completed 12 weeks of training as part of the global Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) funded by CDC and the PMI.  These graduates have already detected more than 130 cases of undiagnosed polio, identified 16,500 children with uncompleted doses of immunizations, and investigated anomalies in health data to improve outcomes.

In close collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and the CDC, the cadre of certified “Frontline Disease Detectives” is assisting the Ministry and World Health Organization to locate and respond to hundreds of suspected cases of polio.  FETP trains health workers in 80 countries to collect, analyze and interpret data, and respond rapidly to epidemics.

The United States stands side by side with Madagascar like “mpirahalahy mianala” to help improve the health and well-being of the Malagasy people.  Through USAID, the U.S. government remains the largest bilateral partner to Madagascar’s health sector having provided $72 million in support to health priorities in 2022.

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