The U.S. CDC Launches $20 M USD Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Project in Ethiopia to Strengthen the Country’s Core Public Health Capabilities.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has committed an additional $20 M USD to strengthen Ethiopia’s capabilities in disease surveillance, laboratory diagnostics, immunization, and emergency management through partnership with the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), regional health bureaus and other key partners. These supports are funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act originally published on March 27, 2020.
As a lead public health institute representing the Government of Ethiopia, the EPHI provides governance and strategic guidance for execution of the CARES funding and related systems strengthening support including emergency operations, surveillance, work force development, information systems and laboratory support to the COVID 19 response. CDC also provided support to National and Regional immunization programs to ensure continuity of routine immunizations during the COVID-19 and strengthening the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.
One critical lesson learned from the COVID-19 global pandemic is how disease threats can spread faster and more unpredictably than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic can be taken as an opportunity to strengthen core public health functions of disease surveillance and response, workforce development and associated lab and information systems.
This project will strengthen and support disease surveillance, laboratory systems, the influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) sentinel network, the Emergency Operations Centers network, Field Epidemiology Training Program, continuity of routine immunizations, the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, and infection prevention and control activities in Ethiopia.
The project emphasizes strengthening existing public health infrastructure in line with the Ethiopian Preparedness and Response Plan strategy of integrating COVID-19 into health care system and decentralization of the COVID-19 response.Over the past year, CDC has been supporting Ethiopia to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes:
- Conducting trainings on preparedness and response
- Providing technical assistance on emergency operations, laboratory operations, IPC, screening at ports of entry, risk communication and community engagement, and disease surveillance
- Reinforcing routine immunization services and systems
- Training field epidemiologists (disease detectives) and giving them the necessary skills to collect, analyze and interpret data and contribute to evidence-based decisions.
This funding builds on CDC’s long-standing global investments to control HIV, TB and malaria, eradicate polio, and prepare for influenza and other pandemic diseases. CDC investments to improve health security in Ethiopia have laid foundations to rapidly and effectively prepare for emerging threats, including the current coronavirus outbreak.