CDC Taps Management Sciences for Health to Improve Public Health Institutes in Multiple Countries

Arlington, VA—Management Sciences for Health (MSH) announced today that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded it a five-year program to support multiple countries in strengthening their national public health institutes, which provide critical functions such as disease outbreak prevention, preparedness, and response.

“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted again why epidemic surveillance, information sharing, and national preparedness are critical for global health security,” said MSH’s President and CEO, Marian W. Wentworth. “Countries need capable and well-coordinated agencies to manage public health challenges effectively. We are thrilled to have been selected to lead this work and intend to make a fast start, building on MSH’s work already under way in many countries to strengthen local capacity for robust pandemic response.”

MSH has worked to build public health infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries for nearly five decades and understands the need to support country-led organizational and systems change efforts.

The program, called Building Capacity for National Public Health Institutes, will be implemented with global research and development nonprofit Battelle. It will support national governments to strengthen national public health institutes (NPHIs). This includes building NPHIs’ human, financial, technological, and physical resources to provide science-based leadership and coordination and reinforce their management capabilities to operate effectively and efficiently, with a particular emphasis this first year on strengthening capacity to lead emergency response efforts in the wake of COVID-19.

Although their specific mandates vary from country to country, NPHIs are integral to robust public health systems. They provide surveillance for emergency preparedness and outbreak response and are the focal point for national and international partnerships, sharing critical information about emerging diseases and providing evidence-based leadership during a crisis. They also play a key role in coordinating disease-specific control programs, overseeing and coordinating laboratories, performing and sharing health research, and supporting the development of a skilled health workforce.

The program will work in up to 23 CDC target countries, including Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Ukraine, Uganda, and Zambia.