India Epidemic Intelligence Service Training Programme at National Institute of Epidemiology

National Institute of Epidemiology – An epidemic is defined as the rapid spread of a disease among a large number of people in a particular geography. Epidemics are public health disasters which could range from hospitalization of a large number of people to even people losing their lives, as in the case of the Great Plague which killed one-fourth of the entire population of London in the years 1965 and 1966. Because of their rapid nature of spreading among communities especially in countries like India with high population density, it is important for the Government to prevent the epidemics from ever happening as it is difficult to control once it starts spreading.

The Government of India has set up the National Institute of Epidemiology, abbreviated as the NIE, at the campus of School of Public Health (SPH) under the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). The campus is located in the Tamil Nadu Housing Board at Ayapakkam, Chennai. Started in the year of 1999, NIE has been conducting Master of Public Health (MPH) course with a specialization in epidemiology and health systems at the Sree Chitra Thirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram. The University of Madras has also recognized NIE for doctoral research in the areas of epidemiology and biostatistics.

The institute offers a 2-year course on the Epidemic Intelligence Service (South) certification training program. The India EIS (South) program is jointly offered by NIE Chennai and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a public health agency under the Department of Health and Human Services, Government of the United States of America. It is intended to cover the epidemic issues in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and the Union Territories of Puducherry and Andaman and the Nicobar Islands. The objective of the course is to train health professional in leadership roles at the District, State, and National level positions.

To apply for the course, the candidate should be working as a regular employee in Central or State health services or an equivalent position in autonomous and sponsored institutions. The employer must provide the consent for the candidate to participate in the program through a No Objection Certificate (NOC). A screening committee will be set up who will shortlist the candidates based on their eligibility and other documents submitted during the application process. Shortlisted candidates will then be called for the interview by the selection committee who will make the final selection of the course based on a personal interview with the candidates.

The course will be focused on learning on the job rather than from theoretical class work. Throughout the course, the candidate will be in touch with his mentor to complete the Core Activity of Learning’s (CALs). On successful completion of the course, the candidate will be awarded a certificate which is jointly signed by the NIE and CDC.

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