The Liberia Field Epidemiology Training Program (LFETP) together with the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), and the University of Liberia organized the first ever annual scientific conference in Liberia from 27 – 29 August 2018. The Annual Emmet A. Dennis National Scientific Conference is named in honor of Dr. Emmet A. Dennis, a Liberian world renowned scientist, former President of the University of Liberia, Board member of the Public Health Institute, and founding Director of the Liberia Institute of Biomedical Research (LIBR).
The three day event was held under the theme: “Fostering the culture of evidence-based public health practice and research in Liberia”, a theme chosen to highlight the objective of the event; to promote and showcase Liberian-led research and application of scientific information in building health systems in Liberia.
The conference was supported by the Africa Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), with funding from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as part of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). The Liberia Field Epidemiology Training Program (LFETP) was established in 2015 as partt of Liberia’s strategic plan following the Ebola outbreak, to contribute to building local capacity for surveillance and outbreak detection, investigation, and response, with initial focus on surveillance officers at the frontline level. Since its inception, the program has trained seven (7) cohorts of Liberian health workers comprising over 170 frontline and intermediate level surveillance officers in the core competencies of public health surveillance. The program has also enjoyed the interest and collaboration of other organizations, that is, the Liberian Ministry of Health (MOH), and other partners notably the World Health Organization (WHO).
The conference was held to highlight Liberia’s achievements in its strategic areas, generate interest in public health, and allow interaction of both local and international scientists to bring evidence based research together. This was highlighted through keynotes, plenary sessions, panel discussions as well as oral and poster presentations.
The conference begun with opening remarks from Ms. Norwu Howard, Acting Minister of Health, Liberia, Dr Tolbert G. Nyenswah, Director General NPHIL; Dr Chima J. Ohuabunwo, Executive Director AFENET; Dr Desmond Williams, CDC Country Director, Liberia; Dr Mesfin Gebrekidan Zbelo, Country Representative WHO; and Dr Ophelia Inez Weeks, President University of Liberia. The conference was officially opened by Prof. Emmet A. Dennis, President Emeritus, and University of Liberia.