The Growing Expertise in E-Health Knowledge and Skills (GEEKS) fellowship programme, a capacity-building initiative supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has successfully graduated its third cohort of fellows in Abuja, Nigeria.
The programme, implemented by the Africa Field Epidemiology Network (AFNET) and the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), included seven fellows from various Nigerian government agencies such as the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
The 12-month intensive training and mentorship initiative focused on transferring and strengthening technical skills to optimise data collection and analysis, inform evidence-based decision-making and improve public health service delivery.
During the programme, the fellows, with oversight from 10 mentors, developed two dashboards to improve public health programming and response efforts in Nigeria. One dashboard was designed to show the linkages between adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) and immunisations received, while the other was created to link immunisation coverage with outbreaks.
Since its inception in 2019, the programme has trained over 50 government staff on data management, triangulation, interpretation, communication and research writing. Recruitment for the fourth cohort is currently underway. The upcoming cohort will focus on building the capacity of subnational-level government staff from NPHCDA, NAFDAC, NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health.
The training and mentorship sessions will run from May 2023 to April 2024.
In a statement, the senior information specialist of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Aishah Gambari emphasised the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting Nigeria’s federal and state ministries of health in the development, implementation and evaluation of disease response efforts and programmes that contribute to a strengthened public health infrastructure.
The GEEKS fellowship programme is one of several initiatives supported by the U.S. CDC to improve health outcomes in Nigeria.