Over the past 25 years, Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETP) has been established in over 33 countries worldwide. These programs are based upon the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2-year residency training program in applied epidemiology, which started in the 1950’s. The primary goal of these training programs is to develop field-trained epidemiologists who are competent in the practical application of epidemiological methods in a wide range of public health problems in their respective areas.
Since May 2006, over 5O residents have participated in outbreak investigations within South Africa. FELTP residents are trained to conduct epidemiologic investigations and public health surveillance nationally and where required, regionally.

Recent SAFELTP Investigations

  • Gastroenteritis Outbreak in Siyanda District, Northern Cape Province, South Africa, April-May 2013
  • Field Analysis of Insecticide Susceptibility of Anopheles Gambiae complex in Vlakbult, Mpumalanga South Africa 2012-13
  • Retrospective analysis of data on antibiotic resistance phenotypes to detect outbreaks of non typhoidal Salmonella in South Africa, 2003-2010
  • Knowledge, attitude and practice of human rabies among primary school children, Vhembe District, Limpopo Province, South Africa, 2012
  • Determinants of Loss to Follow-up Among Patients with HIV on Anti-Retroviral treatment enrolled in a Pharmacovigilance Study, South Africa,  2004-2012
  • Road traffic fatalities in Gauteng Province of South Africa, 2007-2011
  • Childhood cancers in South Africa, 2000-2005
  • Investigation of an Outbreak of Typhoid Fever in Harare, Zimbabwe, Oct 2011-Jan 2012

The Department of Health (DOH), the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the University of Pretoria (UP) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have partnered to establish the South Africa Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (SAFELTP). 

SAFELTP residents in the initial 6 month complete several classroom modules  and except for 3-4 additional didactic nodules, residents complete the other 18 month at their assigned field site being supervised on projects that develop practical skills, knowledge and experiences in applied field epidemiology. A Masters in Public Health degree is awarded from UP when the resident has completed the 2 year program.  Field sites can be at national, provincial or district levels of the Public health system, NHLS/NICD or at Academic institutions or health agencies.   Trainees receive instruction and mentoring in general public health and specific diseases, depending on their field assignment, while at the same time providing service regarding national priority health issues and conditions.

Successful completion of all the requirements of the training program prepare  graduates to assume positions as national, provincial or district epidemiologists, surveillance officers or other epidemiology relevant positions in the South African Public Health system.

SAFELTP invites applications annually for selection into a class of up to 10-15 fellows. The programme starts in January each year and is fulltime for two years. Fellows attend several class room based modules at UP and at NICD for the first 6 months and then work mainly with a supervisor/mentor for the remainder of the two years at a field placement site in their province or another province or at a national public health institution or agency.
The two-year program leads to a Master of Public Health (MPH) conferred by the University of Pretoria.
South African Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme: Call for applicants - 2014 intake click link: