CDC’s Sustainable Investment in Global Health Security

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As outlined in the U.S. Government’s Global Health Security Strategy (2019)pdf iconexternal icon, the United States is working to ensure that every partner country has a plan to achieve self reliance in the critical area of health security. Through flagship programs, such as the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP), National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs), and the Global Border Health Program, CDC is achieving sustainable results in support of global health security.

Training Disease Detectives: Field Epidemiology Training Program

For more than three decades, CDC has worked with ministries of health and other partners around the world to build local capacities and strengthen national public health workforce through FETP. FETP trains a global workforce of disease detectives to be “boots on the ground,” helping track, contain, and eliminate outbreaks before they become epidemics.


Since 1980, FETP graduates in over 70 countries have responded to some of the world’s most urgent public health emergencies including Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa and DRC; MERS-CoV in the Middle East, South Korea and the Philippines; polio in Pakistan and Nigeria; Nipah virus in Bangladesh; acute encephalitis in India; and earthquake recovery in Haiti. With more trained disease detectives, countries can take even greater ownership of future outbreak responses.

During CDC’s five-year investment in GHSA, over two times as many FETP graduates have completed the CDC-run program per year as were trained prior to the implementation of GHSA[1].

Giving Health Security a “Home”: National Public Health Institutes

Integral to CDC’s mission are the establishment of National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs). NPHIs serve as the nexus of a country’s public health functions and play a pivotal role in a country’s ability to address potential health threats. They serve as the “home” for a country’s public health activities. Creating a public health institute helps countries more effectively collect and use data, as well as implement and monitor science-based programs.

NPHIs are a way to sustain CDC’s investment in global health security, by creating a permanent institution for the implementation of public health coordination.

NPHIs are a way to sustain CDC’s investment in global health security, by creating a permanent institution for the implementation of public health coordination. This dedicated public health foundation helps countries build and strengthen public health competencies and achieve compliance with the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005).

CDC’s support to more than 26 countries has ranged from technical assistance from abroad, to more intensive, hands-on and on-the-ground technical assistance. NPHIs, like the United States has with CDC, help countries to more effectively prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats that can cost lives, cause political and economic instability, and spread to neighboring countries.

Preventing the Spread of Pathogens: Global Border Health Program

CDC’s Global Border Health Program has helped many partner countries make significant improvements to their border health security, particularly over the five years of GHSA. Several of these countries have developed robust public health emergency response protocols at points of entry and built a system of border health security expertise through train-the-trainer programs. The program has also helped partner countries learn how to map and analyze migratory social networks, leading to a better ability to anticipate and respond to health threats through targeted interventions. In 2017, when a patient with Lassa Fever traveled from Nigeria to Togo seeking care, FETP graduates in Benin and Togo worked together to track the patient’s movements and trace contacts to contain further spread of the disease. Additionally, the FETP programs in Nigeria and Benin shared information on how to tackle outbreaks.

[1] Most recent numbers show that over 4,400 people were trained in all FETP programs under GHSA with over 16,000 trained since 1980. With this information, the rate of training was (on average) 340 people/year before GHSA compared with 880/year with GHSA.

CDC’s Sustainable Investment in Global Health Security

Page last reviewed: February 13, 2020
Content source: Global Health