Alumni Spotlight: Meet Mallick Masum Billah, Medical Officer, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Bangladesh, 2016 graduate of FETP Bangladesh

Oct 18, 2017


Alumni Spotlight: Meet Mallick Masum Billah, Medical Officer, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Bangladesh, 2016 graduate of FETP Bangladesh

by Tina Rezvani, Communications Specialist, TEPHINET

Masum, thank you for joining TEPHIConnect’s Alumni Spotlight, a series highlighting the work of FETP alumni around the world. First, please tell us: from your perspective, what was the most important thing you learned from your FETP experience?

The important thing I have learned from FETP is to deal with public health emergency situations like outbreaks of different ongoing, emerging and reemerging diseases. FETP is a complete package of trainings that makes me capable of leading the outbreak investigations, making rapid and feasible recommendations to control the outbreaks, communication with different stakeholders, conducting surveillance to detect and conducting research to prevent future outbreaks. FETP makes me ‘a disease detective’.


You were part of FETP Bangladesh’s first cohort of trainees and now spend part of your time overseeing the FETP’s operations and mentorship. It’s obviously a young program; what is your vision for helping it grow and develop?

Although FETP is a young program in Bangladesh, the country is learning the importance of having field epidemiologists very quickly. From the inception of FETP advanced in 2013 among medical doctors, Bangladesh has already included veterinary doctors in the program and started frontline-FETP to meet countrywide demand. My vision is to make the program sustainable in Bangladesh for continuous production of field epidemiologists in keeping with global standards of FETP and ensuring a field epidemiologist for every 200,000 people.


Tell us more about your current role within the IEDCR. What are you working on?

IEDCR is a national institute for conducting outbreak investigations, public health surveillance, research, and workforce development. Currently, I am participating in every aspect of IEDCR work. A major portion of my work is to run the Bangladesh FETP advanced program with the support of a resident advisor and other technical staff. This is a part of the sustainability of FETP in Bangladesh. I take part in teaching and mentoring the frontline FETP program. I am also working as an outbreak investigation officer to lead outbreaks and participating in child health and mortality prevention surveillance (CHAMPS).


What makes you proudest in your career?

Every achievement in my life makes me proud, from academic achievements to a successful outbreak investigation. I am the first FETP graduate of Bangladesh. I think it is the proudest part of my career. I also feel proud to have represented my country during FETP International Night of the 64th and 66th EIS conferences in 2015 and 2017, respectively.


As a TEPHIConnect user, how do you hope this platform can help you with your professional goals?

I hope TEPHIConnect will help to connect me with other FETP graduates all over the world, share my professional experiences and build my career in public health through sharing opportunities.


What advice would you give to new FETP graduates?

My advice to new FETP graduates is to prepare themselves to deal with public health emergencies. In this era of globalization, no country is safe from emerging, reemerging and zoonotic diseases. FETP graduates are the first line of, and the most important, defense. FETP graduates in every country need to maintain the same standards to protect the people from public health emergencies. In this regard, TEPHIConnect can help them to connect with FETP graduates all over the world.

Cholera outbreak in Chuadanga district, Bangladesh, 2015

Editor’s Note:

TEPHIConnect members: To learn more about Masum, visit his profile.

If you’re interested in participating in our Alumni Spotlight series or have someone to recommend, please contact

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