In 2006, the South African Field Epidemiology Training Programme was developed as a joint collaboration between the National Department of Health (NDOH), the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), the University of Pretoria (UP) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) office in South Africa. As from 2018, the incoming cohort will be assigned to attend either the University of Pretoria (UP) or the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).

The programme is a combination of didactic and practical training in which the resident is grounded in the academic basics of applied epidemiology and is assigned to field sites where s/he learns by doing while being mentored by supervisors in projects that address key public health priorities within the respective countries and within the regions. The programme also has Frontline course targeting public health professionals in the area of surveillance at national, provincial, district and local levels. The health professionals targeted include medical officers, nurses, infection control officers, surveillance officers, and environmental health officers.