The South Africa Field Epidemiology and  Training Programme (SAFETP) is a two-year hands-on service training programme in field (or applied) epidemiology and laboratory management. The programme is 30 percent classroom-based and 70 percent field-based. This allows students to combine academic training with hands-on epidemiology services to the local and national health authorities of South Africa.

At the conclusion of the programme, students who have completed all the necessary requirements are awarded a Master of Public Health through the University of Pretoria.


The SAFETP was officially inaugurated in May 2006. It is modelled after the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Service. There are currently more than 12 similar programmes in Africa as well as additional ones throughout the rest of the world.


FETPs are designed to help Ministries of Health build or strengthen their health systems by recruiting promising young health workers and building their competencies through on-the-job mentorship and training. Because the students work in active public health teams that are tackling the most serious and acute problems of their populations, their work is exciting and leads to improvements in programme implementation even as the students are learning.



The objectives of the SAFETP are to provide:

1. Provide a platform for building field epidemiology capacity for health professionals.
2. Build competency in outbreak investigation, disease surveillance, data analysis, hypothesis driven research through a two-year residency and short courses.

3. Develop the capacity of health professionals to utilise evidence based approaches to drive programmes and inform policy decisions

4. Align programme activities with national health priorities.

The SAFETP is located at the National Institute of Communicable Disease (NICD) in Sandringham, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Link to map: http://www.nicd.ac.za/?page=contact_us&id=2

During their two-years of training, residents spend 30 percent of their time in the classroom, taking classes intermittently at the NICD campus and the University of Pretoria (UP). Residents spend the other 70 percent of their training on field assignments in various National and Provincial Departments of Health throughout South Africa.