Global Emergency Preparedness: Disease Knows No Borders

An outbreak that starts in another country can hit our shores in a matter of hours. As we protect across the globe, we also protect here at home.

Why It Matters

In today’s tightly connected world, a disease can be transported from an isolated, rural village to any major city in as little as 36 hours. With 70% of countries still not fully prepared to respond to a public health emergency, it is more likely that infectious diseases will take root and spread across borders. We must ensure that all countries have the knowledge and ability to stop disease early and close to the source.

  • Lives Saved: Fast and effective response can stop a local outbreak from becoming a global epidemic.
  • Economies Protected: Increasing efficiency abroad is a cost-saving investment that can help protect travel and trade, while decreasing the need for American aid.
  • A More Stable World: Coordinated international response to outbreaks contributes to political stability and security and builds trust between countries.

Why CDC?

CDC works to protect the U.S. from deadly and costly public health crises, whether they begin here or elsewhere. We are a leader in helping our country and others meet international standards for global health security. The knowledge and experience we share is already being used to stop outbreaks faster across the globe.

  • Expertise: We work alongside countries to improve their ability to prepare and respond to emergencies
  • Training: We invite international leaders to Atlanta for in-depth training in public health emergency management
  • Connection: Our watch desk receives  information about potential public health emergencies of international concern and determines who to notify
  • Evaluation: Our experts collaborate with the international community to determine how prepared countries are to prevent, detect, and respond to health threats

Applying Emergency Management Expertise in the Field

In the fall of 2017, three former CDC Public Health Emergency Management fellows led a national-level response to a Dengue outbreak in Senegal. Dr. Ibrahima Sonko served as the Operations Chief for the response. He collaborated closely with Dr. Allé Baba Dieng, the manager of Senegal’s Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHEOC), and Dr. Soukeyna Aidara, a member of the PHEOC’s surveillance and epidemiology team.

The three leaders operationalized the knowledge and skills they learned during their four month Public Health Emergency Management Fellowship at CDC headquarters to deploy a rapid response team to the affected region, educate health professionals about Dengue fever, and coordinate vector control measures, including large-scale dusting and targeted spraying of insecticide. Their coordination and quick response to the outbreak helped contain cases of Dengue fever to Louga and the surrounding area and prevent further illness.

Doctors Sonko, Dieng and Aidara join 82 public health professionals from 29 countries who have completed the Public Health Emergency Management fellowship at CDC since 2013.

The world has committed to building Public Health Emergency Operations Centers capable of activating a coordinated response within 120 minutes of the identification of a public health emergency.

Page last reviewed: October 11, 2018, 09:00 AM