ASPR Global Partnerships Key to Preparing for Public Health Threats at Home and Abroad



We are living in an increasingly interconnected world where diseases and other threats can travel quickly, unnoticed for days. The United States is better protected when we prepare countries to respond where outbreaks begin. I recently traveled to the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the Republic of South Africa to see the impact of ASPR's technical assistance and encourage continued partnership.

My visit was an opportunity to engage our partners across Africa, who collaborate with ASPR on medical countermeasure (MCM) research and development, clinical trials, stockpiling, emergency management, and response as part of President Biden's commitment to strengthen global health security.

First, I stopped in Brazzaville, where I met with WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, and the Emergency Preparedness and Response team, who respond to over 100 health emergencies each year. Our discussion focused on how ASPR can support the response to recent Ebola and Marburg outbreaks and build on efforts to strengthen stockpiling among member states.

In Kinshasa, I met with the newly appointed Minister of Health Dr. Roger Kamba to discuss ways to continue our collaboration on technical assistance for stockpiling and ongoing support of important clinical trials for mpox and filovirus disease outbreaks in the DRC. I also had the opportunity to tour the Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale, which coordinates the use of many of our countermeasures in clinical trials in DRC, and meet with the National Public Health Institute to understand their ongoing outbreak concerns.

I finished my trip in Cape Town with Professor Glenda Gray and the South African Medical Research Council – hearing about their clinical trial work and learning more about their support for in-country mRNA vaccine manufacturing efforts. I also sat down with two important vaccine manufacturing companies in South Africa, Afrigen and BioVax, to receive feedback on BARDA's vaccine manufacturing training initiative.

I was pleased to see so much of ASPR's work abroad in action. Our efforts, alongside the Office of Global Affairs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and other USG partners will be key to preparing for, detecting, responding to, and containing outbreaks of infectious disease globally to ensure our preparedness at home.

​More about ASPR's work in Africa:

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has trained manufacturing experts to support Africa's ability to manufacture vaccines and led the development of MCMs for filoviruses such as Ebola, Marburg, and Sudan. As a result of BARDA's efforts, there now are four FDA-approved, cleared, or licensed Ebola countermeasures – a rapid antigen test, a vaccine, and two treatments.

These MCMs have been deployed across Africa for multiple outbreaks and will continue to be the cornerstone of our response to filoviruses. Our experts are working with product developers and international partners to evaluate other potential vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics for use in future outbreaks. U.S. preparedness and global health security demand no less – especially with the dangers posed by the Ebola Sudan and Marburg viruses.

Similarly, ASPR's Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) engages partners globally to expand international MCM capacity. Since 2015, SNS medical supply chain experts have provided training and technical assistance to international public health emergency managers – validating national MCM supply chain plans in five countries: Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. SNS will be engaging Senegal later this year.

The SNS also supports MCM workshops for international fellows attending CDC's Public Health Emergency Management (PHEM) Fellowship focused on supply chain, operational planning, and response management principles. Since 2017, the SNS team has conducted nine MCM planning workshops, training 144 public health professionals from 42 countries and the African Union.

Most recently, SNS facilitated an MCM supply chain and response operations workshop for 60 public health emergency responders in the DRC. During my visit to the DRC, I had the opportunity to meet with alumni of these training programs and hear about the impact of these trainings.​


Medical Countermeasures; Response and Recovery; Public Health Preparedness




Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response

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Medical Countermeasures
Version: 4.0
Created at 4/25/2023 1:52 PM by KIMBERLY BUCKMON
Last modified at 4/25/2023 4:45 PM by KIMBERLY BUCKMON