CDC in Saudi Arabia

Map of Saudi Arabia

CDC has worked with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for over 20 years. It has formed partnerships with the Ministry of Health, WHO, local partners, and other U.S. Government agencies to reduce the impact of emerging diseases, build capacity in areas such as laboratory systems and epidemiology, strengthen immunization services, respond to public health emergencies, and conduct surveillance, surveys, and studies.Download Overview Fact SheetCdc-pdf


Travelers’ Health Saudi Arabia



CDC office (physical presence)
No U.S. Assignees
No Locally Employed


Saudi Arabia at a Glance

Population: 31,565,109
Per capita income: $53,760
Life expectancy at birth women/men: 75/73 yrs
Under 5 mortality: 16/1000 live births
Source: Population Reference Bureau Fact Sheet, 2015


Top 10 Causes of Death

  1. Road Injuries 9%
  2. Diabetes 7%
  3. Back/Neck Injuries 7%
  4. Ischemic Heart Disease 6%
  5. Depressive Disorders 5%
  6. Congenital Anomalies of the Heart 5%
  7. Drug Use 4%
  8. Skin Disorders 3%
  9. Chronic Kidney Disease 2%
  10. Cancer 2%

Source: GBD Compare (, 2013

What CDC Is Doing

The ability to rapidly detect, fight, and control disease outbreaks where they occur helps prevent diseases from crossing borders, thus keeping people safe. CDC works with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other countries to strengthen its public health systems and build capacity for disease surveillance and outbreak response.

CDC supports workforce capacity building in KSA through the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP). The KSA FETP program started in 1989 as the first program in the Middle East. The tow year training program leads to a Diploma in Field Epidemiology from King Saud University, which is recognized as equivalent to a Master’s Degree by Saudi Council for Health Specialties. Since its establishment, the program has graduated 27 cohorts and 130 residents, many of whom have assumed public health positions in the country, particularly within regional health agencies. The Saudi FETP currently accepts residents from Oman and has accepted residents from other countries in the region.

The recent Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in Saudi Arabia has provided multiple opportunities for current FETP fellows to become involved in field investigations.

A new Resident Advisor, Dr. Mark Beatty, has been hired and expected to be in country early 2016. Dr. Beatty has an extensive background in domestic and international field investigations and has worked in challenging socio-economic and political environments in Southeast Asia, India, Africa, and Central and South America focused on arboviral and enteric diseases including cholera.

Page last reviewed: February 17, 2016
Content source: Global Health