Rollins professors expand public health capacity in Africa through $7.4 million CDC partnership

Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Feb. 24, 2015

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African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) staff in Kampala, Uganda.

The Hubert Department of Global Health at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health has received a $7.43 million, five-year cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement a global health security program. Named The African Centre of Excellence for Public Health Security, the program seeks to improve preparedness and response to health threats in low-income countries, with a focus on West Africa, by strengthening workforce development in the region.  

Led by Rollins faculty members Scott McNabb, PhD, Carlos Del Rio, MD, MPH, Hubert professor and chair of the department, and Saad Omer, MBBS, the program will be implemented in collaboration with partners who are based in West Africa or have an established track record of work in the region. These partners include the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI), the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM), and Emory's Institute for Developing Nations (IDN). 

"In the short term, implementing this project will increase knowledge skills, and coordination of the public health workforce in West Africa in the prevention and control of infectious diseases and other emerging threats to global health security," says McNabb. "In the long term, it will lead to the creation of a locally owned and operated public health preparedness center focused on training, This center, the African Center of Excellence for Public Health Security or ACEPHS, will ultimately improve regional capability to detect and control infectious disease outbreaks, public health emergencies of international concern and other threats."

A strong workforce is a key component of the public health system and is essential for timely response to public health events and threats. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 has highlighted deficiencies in public health preparedness, including shortage of trained health professionals. 

This partnership, between Emory, CDC, and partners in West Africa, will ensure sustainable development and on-going strengthening of workforce capabilities in West Africa.