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CDC Global Health Partnerships

The scope and intensity of global health challenges ensures that no single country or agency can work alone to meet them. To contribute to shared global health objectives, CDC works in close partnership with a wide array of international agencies and institutions to shape global health policies and to fund, implement, and evaluate programs. CDC's partnerships with international and multinational organizations include the World Health Organization and its regional offices, other United Nations agencies (such as UNICEF) and affiliated agencies (such as the United Nations Foundation), the World Bank, other federal agencies within the U.S. Government, private foundations, universities, and global health organizations. Each is described briefly below.

Like others involved in these efforts, CDC staff hope to improve public health outcomes by providing technical expertise and learning new methods to improve the constantly evolving practice of public health. Another important aspect of sharing global health knowledge is the standardization of data collected- critical to the ongoing challenge of detecting and comparing trends around the world. CDC representatives also participate in policy discussions that explore the many options for devoting scarce resources to long-standing as well as emerging public health crises. These discussions offer opportunities for bringing U.S. perspectives to multilateral settings, along with the equally important goal of bringing the perspectives and insights of other countries and partners to the United States.

CDC's global health partners include the following:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is the leading United Nations (UN) institution charged with determining global health policy. CDC contributes to WHO's efforts through the secondment of CDC staff to strategic posts within the WHO structure, with special attention to the WHO Regional Offices (e.g. PAHO, AFRO), and through grants to support specific programs of global importance, such as polio eradication and surveillance for emerging diseases. In addition, a number of WHO Collaborative Centers are based within CDC, sharing staff, research initiatives, and publications for use by the global health community.

  • The World Bank is the leading institution for investments in health and development and thus plays a critical role in shaping global health policy. Other regional development banks may provide new opportunities to address specific global health issues in the future. CDC has had assignees at the Bank since 1997.

  • The United Nations Foundation (UNF), with an annual endowment of $100 million, provides financial support to United Nations agencies for projects in the areas of child health, population, women's health, and the environment. CDC collaborates on policy and technical issues, helping to shape the UNF's health agenda in the developing world. (A CDC staff member is assigned to UNF.)

  • UNICEF, a key partner in child health initiatives, has been a particularly critical ally in CDC's global immunization activities. As the final phase of the global campaign against polio approaches, UNICEF collaboration will continue to be a critical element as CDC and its partners achieve the goal of eradication.

  • Within the U.S. government, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has had a longstanding relationship with CDC to support common global health objectives. The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Global Health Affairs coordinates global health policy for the Department, providing opportunities to CDC, as well as relying on its technical resources. Several CDC staff members are assigned to USAID to work on these collaborative initiatives. The Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) serves as the locus for inter-agency collaborations in global health. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) is a crucial partner in carrying out CDC's overseas programs and activities. DOS is responsible for assuring that all U.S. Government overseas programs and activities are consistent with the overall goals and objectives of U.S. foreign policy. Through its embassies and diplomatic corps around the world, the Department offers protection and support for agency personnel on long- and short-term assignments.

  • In the private sector, several U.S. foundations demonstrate an interest in global health issues and projects by supporting programming in areas important to CDC. For example, the Rockefeller Foundation, with the help of consultants trained in the CDC EIS program, implemented the Public Health Schools Without Walls program, which shares the mission and competency-based field epidemiology training approach used by the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently has given high priority to its global health programs. Its areas of emphasis, including vaccine delivery, maternal mortality reduction, malaria, and TB are aligned with CDC's interests, leading to many collaborative efforts. Rotary International supports the efforts of CDC and other global partners to add polio to the list of diseases eradicated from the world - a goal that is within reach.

  • Many U.S.-based international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are actively engaged in international health projects. The relief agency CARE, for example, participates in a joint CARE-CDC Health Initiative (CCHI), which makes best use of CDC's technical and scientific expertise and CARE's on-the-ground capabilities to address critical health issues in countries around the world. The eradication of Guinea worm and the prevention of river blindness throughout the world tops the Atlanta-based Carter Center's list of global health concerns. Through The Carter Center's efforts, community-based intervention programs primarily in Africa have greatly reduced the burden of these diseases among some of the world's poorest people. Combining forces with the CDC, WHO, UNICEF, and others, The Carter Center helps make the idea of public-private partnership in global health a reality.

  • Launched in February 2001, the Measles Initiative is a long-term commitment to control measles deaths in Africa by vaccinating 200 million children and preventing 1.2 million deaths over five years. Leading this effort is the American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO). Other key players in the fight against measles include the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and countries and governments affected by measles. While the Measles Initiative is focused in Africa where the majority of measles-related deaths occur, partners also work on a wide-range of health initiatives around the world, including measles control and other vaccination services outside of Africa.
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  • Page last reviewed: January 7, 2015
  • Page last updated: January 7, 2015
  • Content source: Global Health
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