This website is part of the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) network
Skip navigation links
Postcards from the field

Contact person:

Direction générale de la santé
Avenue de Beau-Séjour 22-24, case postale 76
CH-1211 - Geneva 4 Plainpalais

Tel. + 41 22 546 5052
Fax. + 41 22 546 50 66


Description of the institution
In Switzerland, responsibility for the surveillance and prevention of infectious diseases is shared by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and cantonal authorities (26 cantons). National policy making is the main task of the FOPH and the federal "law on epidemics" identifies the "médecin cantonal" (a sort of State epidemiologist or local chief medical officier) as the main health authority at cantonal level for infectious diseases surveillance and prevention. In addition, cantons have their own set of law, rules and regulations, as well as prevention programmes and projects under the leadership of an elected state councillor. Direct interventions are therefore the responsibility of cantonal authorities including outbreak detection and investigation. Surveillance and prevention activities (e.g. vaccine campaigns, Aids and drug prevention programmes) are mostly designed and evaluated by the FOPH. They are implemented, monitored and sometimes also evaluated at cantonal level. Geneva is an international city with many UN organisations and international businesses, and great proximity with neighbouring France.

The trainee is assigned to the Epidemiology & Infectious Diseases Section ("Section épidémiologie et maladies transmissibles") of the General Directorate of Health. In the past few years, activities have included outbreak investigations (legionnaire disease, measles, salmonelosis, hepatitis E, dphyllobothrium latum...)
, assessment of vaccination coverage, surveys of MRSA colonisation among residents of nursing homes, surveillance of gonorrhoea, community acquired MRSA and LGV, analysis of hepatitis C and HIV surveillance data, intervention after wild polio virus detection in sewage, HPV vaccine and pandemic vaccine campaign, SARS, pandemic preparedness and managemente, etc. Day to day activities include surveillance and management public helth emergencies (meningitis, tuberculosis, nosocomial hepatitis C, etc). In addition, the trainee may have the opportunity to set up "elective rotation" at the Geneva University Hospital infection control department and will have the opportunity to work on specific projects in Bern at the FOPH (such as evaluation of surveillance systems or conduct outbreak investigations).

The trainee is supervised by Dr Philippe Sudre. Dr Sudre is a senior epidemiologist trained in France and Canada (Mc Gill University), an ex- Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at the Center for Disease Control (USA). He has worked with WHO tuberculosis programme (1990-93), and has been involved with the EPIET programme since its inception. Dr Sudre is Privat Docent of the University of Geneva Medical School

While collaborating at the FOPH, the trainee may be directly supervised by epidemiologists working there.
Language requirements
Geneva working language is French. English, however, is often used because of the large international community of Geneva. German may be very useful to at the FOPH in Bern and communicate with German speaking counterparts in Switzerland.

Training history
Number of EPIET fellows trained at institute: Two ( 2003, 2005)

Available as a training site for Cohort 2015: NO