Global Health Programs

International support

We work with Ministries of Health and other global health partners in dozens of countries to support their efforts in fighting foodborne, waterborne, and mycotic (fungal) diseases and other infectious diseases, including HIV and tuberculosis. At the invitation of host countries, we provide training and critical technical assistance in the areas of surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity building, and communications.

Global Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)

Global Wash

CDC’s global WASH program provides expertise and interventions aimed at saving lives and reducing illness by improving global access to healthy and safe water, adequate sanitation, and improved hygiene. Our work involves partnerships with other US government agencies, Ministries of Health, non-governmental agencies, and various international agencies.

The Safe Water System

CDC’s Safe Water System (SWS) protects communities from contaminated water by promoting behavior change and providing affordable and sustainable solutions. The SWS increases access to safe water by helping individuals treat and safely store water in homes, health facilities, and schools. Safe Water System programs operate in over 30 countries around the world, treating 90 billion liters of water since 1998.


Proper hygiene education is a critical step in reducing illness and death from diarrheal disease. CDC and partners work around the world to promote handwashing with soap and measure its effects on diarrheal diseases, respiratory diseases, and child development.


CDC works with partners around the world to prevent and control the spread of cholera, primarily in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Since a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the island nation of Haiti in 2010, CDC and a wide range of partners have helped Haiti reorganize, reconstruct, and restore systems and control disease outbreaks, including the ongoing cholera crisis. The 2011 Global Health E–brief highlights the health impact of this work in Haiti: CDC Global Health E-Brief, Haiti: One Year after the Earthquake 2011.

Neglected Tropical Diseases

Millions more people suffer from WASH-related neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), such as soil-transmitted helminthiases (STHs, for example, infections with Ascaris, hookworm, and Trichuris), Guinea worm disease (GWD), trachoma, and schistosomiasis. CDC works with partners to integrate WASH into existing NTD and other disease control programs for long-term success.

Global Health and Fungal Diseases

Fungal diseases are a serious threat to people around the world, particularly those who have weakened immune systems from diseases such as HIV/AIDS or from certain therapies for cancer. Many people at risk for and suffering from fungal diseases live in resource-limited settings, where diagnosis and treatment of these infections can be challenging. CDC is working with many different partners across the globe to improve access to fungal diagnostics and antifungal medications. Through these efforts, there will be better understanding of the true burden of fungal diseases and development of strategies to prevent and limit disease.

Global Health Unit (GHU)

The Global Health Unit (GHU) facilitates capacity building for outbreak investigation and surveillance of foodborne and waterborne diseases in resource limited countries. The platform does this by equipping countries with the tools they need to train many health workers in their own countries on how to investigate enteric disease outbreaks and setting up surveillance in resource limited settings. Setting up a response system for these common pathogens may also help countries when responding to uncommon pathogens, such as Ebola.

GHU offers project-based training by sponsoring workshops tailored to each country’s specific needs at the district, national and region levels.

We work with Ministries of Health and other global health partners in multiple countries to support their efforts in fighting foodborne, waterborne, and mycotic (fungal) diseases. In the last five years, at the invitation of host countries, we provided training and critical technical assistance in the areas of outbreak investigation, surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity building, and communications. We did this through temporary duty assignments from CDC headquarters and CDC regional and country offices.

PulseNet International

Foodborne illnesses can spread quickly and cause health and financial hardship anywhere the world. As a result of increasing international trade, food produced in one country may be consumed in a different part of the world and cause disease if contaminated with a foodborne pathogen. PulseNet InternationalExternal is a network of national and regional laboratory networks dedicated to tracking foodborne infections worldwide. Each laboratory utilizes standardized genotyping methods, sharing information in real time.

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