CDC’s Global Impact: Responding to COVID-19 Around the World

CDC global health experts have worked tirelessly with partners and public health officials to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by leveraging and adapting longstanding investments, systems, and programs for the global COVID-19 response. CDC also simultaneously implemented innovative strategies to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on flagship global health programs.

Supporting U.S. Embassies Around the World
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CDC staff in countries around the world helped over 50 embassies stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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In Tanzania, following the first confirmed case within the Embassy in March 2020, CDC led contact tracing, case investigation, and quarantine decisions. CDC also provided critical guidance on home care and maintaining healthy office space, and provided consultations to Chief of Mission staff and families. CDC also advised other Embassies in Tanzania, and gathered ambassadors to share the latest information and guidance on keeping Embassy communities safe.

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In Zambia, CDC has served as the principal advisor to the Chief of Mission on workplace safety and development of guidance and procedures related to COVID-19. Early in the pandemic, before testing was available at the Embassy, CDC staff supported testing of Embassy staff using PEPFAR infrastructure. CDC staff also conducted contact tracing for over 300 Embassy staff and families who were exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). CDC supports the Chief of Mission with town halls for staff and live Facebook sessions for American citizens to address concerns about COVID-19.

Collaborating Globally with Ministries of Health
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CDC worked hand-in-hand with Ministries of Health in over 60 countries to provide critical support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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When the government of India reported its first case of COVID-19 in January 2020, CDC’s country office in India mobilized immediately, establishing teams that aligned closely with Government of India response efforts across the country. CDC supported establishment of a fully functioning Government of India Incident Management System and assisted with response and mitigation efforts, including COVID-19 clinical management, risk communication, hospital and community mitigation activities, and a tiered training program to establish a specialized cadre of epidemiologists in India.

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Haiti is experiencing multiple concurrent crises, including COVID-19, political unrest, and, in 2021, a devastating earthquake. To expand access to COVID-19 diagnosis, CDC developed additional testing sites, building on a model used for HIV and TB programs. Because of this CDC support to the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP), citizens can now get tested for COVID-19 at pharmacies, private sector labs, and international airports. CDC has also facilitated the delivery of USG-donated vaccines and continues to support MSPP to increase vaccine uptake.

Leveraging Investments in Cross-Cutting Systems for COVID-19

CDC’s ability to leverage core capacities overseas for the global COVID-19 response is built on longstanding investments in surveillance, laboratory networks, emergency management, and workforce development.

Surveillance/Laboratory Networks:


CDC helped over 200 laboratories overseas get International Organization for Standardization 15189 accreditation.


CDC supported rollout of Global Laboratory Leadership Programs in 23 countries, with a focus on COVID-19.


CDC supported over 18 national laboratories in high-containment operations to enhance biosafety and biosecurity during COVID-19.

Emergency Management:


CDC supported development and strengthening of over 30 national Emergency Operations Centers worldwide.


CDC hosted emergency response trainings and workshops for over 1,500 participants in 60+ countries.

Workforce Development


98% of CDC’s Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) residents or graduates have supported global COVID-19 epidemiologic investigations, data collection and analysis, and information dissemination.

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Since the start of the pandemic, participants and alumni of the Stop Transmission of Polio program (STOP) have been supporting national COVID-19 responses in 47 countries, with 119,000 public health workers trained by STOP participants.

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CDC’s PEPFAR-supported investments have been critical to COVID-19 diagnosis and surveillance, with nearly 1,450 facilities supported with molecular testing capacity for SARS-CoV-2, HIV, and TB.

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Two CDC global divisions alone contributed over 1,650,000 person-hours to the global COVID-19 response, including over 350,000 person-hours from in-country staff around the world.

Increasing HIV Service Delivery During COVID-19
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When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there was widespread concern that people living with HIV would not receive HIV treatment. Due to data-driven, person-centered programs and innovations to support access to care, through PEPFAR, CDC has continued to grow global treatment cohorts through the COVID-19 pandemic, Monkeypox, and Ebola outbreaks, with nearly 12.5 million people currently on HIV treatment in FY22, an 17.5% increase from FY20.
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CDC has worked quickly to put Nigeria on the path to HIV epidemic control, rolling out an HIV anti-retroviral therapy surge in the nine Nigerian states with the largest numbers of people with HIV not receiving treatment. The first 18-months of the Nigeria HIV treatment surge resulted in an eight-fold increase in the weekly number of newly identified people with HIV who started treatment in the nine focal states, even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on this initial success, CDC worked with partners to expand efforts to nine additional states. The ongoing Nigeria treatment surge has led to a near tripling of people receiving HIV treatment in 18 states, from 454,000 in 2019 to 1,239,000 in 2022.

Accelerating Global COVID-19 Vaccination
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CDC supports over 70 countries to receive and administer COVID-19 vaccines. Around the world, CDC is committed to widespread and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, while continuing to build capacity for essential immunization systems.
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CDC and USAID supported an accelerated COVID-19 vaccine drive in Kisumu, after health officials identified nearly 15,000 vaccines at risk of expiring. Based on lessons learned in Kisumu, CDC launched COVID-19 vaccination outreach support in five additional counties in Kenya, with over 85,000 people fully vaccinated within the first month of the project. In February 2022, all counties exceeded their target.

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CDC recruited and trained religious leaders to educate more communities about COVID-19 risks and vaccine confidence.

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CDC helped the Ministry of Health and Wellness increase the number of trained staff who could administer COVID-19 vaccines. This was instrumental in Belize’s success in vaccinating 50.4% of the eligible population against COVID-19 by late 2021.

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CDC’s PEPFAR implementing partners established 1,000 COVID-19 vaccination points in HIV clinics and trained 1,000 vaccinators.