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What CDC Is Doing in South Africa

CDC Resources in South Africa

18 US Asignees
61 Locally Employed

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started work in South Africa in 1989, assisting non-governmental and community-based organizations working with HIV. In 1994 at the onset of democracy in South Africa, CDC began to collaborate with the South African National Department of Health (NDoH) to conduct public health epidemiology training; develop national health goals and objectives; develop national HIV clinical, ethical, and research guidelines; and support HIV and tuberculosis (TB) programs. CDC plays an essential role in implementing the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).


In December 2010, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane signed a Partnership Framework to codify PEPFAR’s continued support. Under the Framework and working with more than 55 partners, CDC focuses on the following areas in South Africa:

Simple infection control procedures like reminders to open windows and doors at the right time help prevent new infections in public TB facilities.

  • Health Systems Strengthening

    CDC aims to maximize the health impact and host country system efficiencies on the ground. Public health experts from CDC help to identify challenges and support the implementation and documentation of coordinated high-impact solutions that save lives and money. Support is also rendered to Regulatory Councils and the NDoH on developing policy and in the development of human resources for health. CDC supports the delivery of effective laboratory services to all South Africans. CDC also supports partners to design and implement surveillance systems and surveys and to develop systems to monitor and evaluate HIV and TB prevention, care, and treatment programs. Health management information systems staff works with the host government to develop, implement, and maintain unified health information systems. The African Centre for Integrated Lab Training develops and presents hands-on training courses for front-line laboratory staff from several countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.
  • Prevention

    CDC supports HIV prevention with a comprehensive approach including biomedical and behavior change strategies. Pillars of the program are rapid expansion of medical male circumcision, preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), and integrating HIV and sexually transmitted infections programs. Evidence-based strategies ensure favorable health outcomes with sustainable effects on policy and health systems. The counseling and testing program supports a national campaign that aims to test 15 million people.

    Care and Treatment

    CDC supports the government in providing HIV care and treatment services. CDC supported 356,711 people on antiretroviral treatment (ART), contributing to increased life expectancy and improvements in the quality of life for people living with and affected by HIV. The care and treatment branch underscores the work of the South African government by scaling-up services for ART and by expanding and improving care and support programs for those infected and affected by HIV.
  • Integrating TB and HIV

    With one of the world’s highest TB infection and drug-resistant rates and more than 70% of TB patients co-infected with HIV, intensifying TB case finding and integrating TB and HIV services has been a critical component of the HIV/AIDS program. The program works closely with national and provincial health departments and partners to implement Directly Observed Therapy (DOTS) strategy, to integrate TB and HIV, and to strengthen infection control. Surveillance for TB and drug-resistant TB has been enhanced by CDC-supported electronic software.

South African Regional Global Disease Detection Centre (SARGDD)

The Global Disease Detection (GDD) program is CDC’s principal program for developing and strengthening global health security to detect, identify and contain emerging infectious disease and bioterrorist threats globally. In 2010, GDD South Africa became the ninth regional GDD center with the establishment of the South African Regional Global Disease Detection Centre (SARGDD). The regional center provides leadership, training and technical assistance to strengthen countries’ abilities to confront new emerging health disease challenges, including influenza and other respiratory diseases. SARGDD consists of four programs described below:
  • The International Emerging Infections Program (IEIP)

    The program focuses on strengthening disease surveillance and providing assistance on implementation of the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR). IEIP collaborates with the U.S. DOD and Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the NDoH, the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners to build local and regional disease detection and response capabilities and to strengthen biosecurity.
  • The Influenza Program

    The program was incorporated into the GDD in 2010, and has a significant regional component. CDC works with NHLS and WHO to conduct surveillance for influenza and pneumonia to direct influenza policy and pandemic preparedness.
  • The South Africa Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (SA-FELTP)

    SA-FELTP trains field epidemiology and public health laboratory fellows for leadership positions in the South African National and Provincial health services and NHLS. The two-year program provides epidemiologic services to health authorities in South Africa and conducts outbreak investigations.
  • The One Health Program

    In 2013, the GDD Centre, together with the NDoH, made great strides in establishing a One Health program, which focuses on the convergence of human, animal and environmental health, a priority area for South Africa and core to strengthening global health security.

Our Programs in South Africa

  • Page last reviewed: December 5, 2011
  • Page last updated: December 5, 2011
  • Content source: Global Health
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