ICF works collaboratively with national governments, U.S. agencies, and U.N. agencies to respond to the global health security threats in our world today.
In 2014, the global community came together to launch the Global Health Security Agenda to mobilize in response to disease threats in our increasingly interconnected and globalized world. ICF has been working for over 30 years to respond to the most pressing global health challenges in lower and middle income countries. For over a decade, we have worked at the intersection of environmental drivers, animal health, food production and human health for a One Health approach to detect and monitor disease threats.
Out teams of clinicians, epidemiologists, veterinarians, ecologists, agricultural economists, health systems experts, and data scientists offer the multidisciplinary expertise to respond to the complexity of the challenges we face.
ICF has been working to strengthen national malaria surveillance systems using both passive surveillance and active case detection. ICF supports countries through regional and in-country trainings that build skills for strong and effective malaria surveillance systems. Training topics include case definition, indicator definitions, surveillance approaches (passive or active detection), reporting tools, and determination of thresholds to detect abnormal increases in cases and epidemics through data analysis and interpretation. ICF has placed malaria resident advisors in Madagascar, Mali, Liberia and DRC to provide direct support to the national malaria control programs including mentoring local staff and developing protocols for data quality review, epidemic threshold definition and alert, data analysis and use. In Madagascar, we are actively involved in supporting the integrated disease surveillance and response unit, because malaria is one of the notifiable diseases and epidemic in some parts of the country. In Mali, we have helped establish an electronic reporting system for malaria surveillance in remote areas.
In 2015, ICF began working on the Automated Media Monitoring for School Closures project sponsored by CDC's National Center for Emerging Infectious and Zoonotic Diseases. The project was designed to supplement the ILI Surveillance Network and provide real-time data on school closures to CDC. ICF developed an automated system that collects school closures information across the country in near real time through online sources such as Google News, social media and other sources and displays the information on a Tableau dashboard updated every day that CDC can use to monitor and evaluate services for communities in need.
ICF, in partnership with the Government of Vietnam’s Partnership for Avian and Human Influenza, developed the Guide for Monitoring and Evaluation of Avian Influenza Programs in Southeast Asia, which includes performance indicators to measure timeliness, completeness, and accuracy of disease surveillance for avian and pandemic influenza in both human and animal populations. By combining animal and human disease surveillance information, the framework supported the Government of Vietnam in identifying areas for intensified prevention and control efforts and established a basis for future surveillance of other zoonotic diseases. The guide was developed through iterative consultations with technical experts at WHO and FAO and stakeholders in the region.
ICF is a core partner for USAID and CDC in developing interoperable health information systems. ICF is a member of the leadership team of the Open Health Information Exchange (OHIE), has presented three years in a row at the DHIS2 Experts Academy in Oslo, and has a team of software developers, testers, data security experts and IT project managers available to support USG efforts. We are the prime for the LRN Data Exchange and Laboratory Informatics Services project supporting real-time laboratory information exchange for the CDC, and lead the data exchange work stream for the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator's global information system, DATIM, supporting colleagues from CDC, USAID, Peace Corps, Department of Defense, Health Resources and Services Administrative, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Census Bureau. We work closely with national MOHs and field teams.
In the European Union, ICF provides expert insights and policy support around issues of antimicrobial resistance, animal production and food safety surveillance at regional and national levels. We are undertaking two studies related to emerging risks in this area – (1) identifying national differences and commonalities in risk perceptions on the topic of antimicrobial resistance and animal production to inform evidence-based EU risk communications strategy (2) providing insights into the human health impact of antimicrobial resistance in animals across the EU members states, through EU-wide survey of farmers, veterinarians and consumers. We are also carrying out an evaluation of the EU’s program for funding the monitoring, control and eradication of animal diseases. For this evaluation, we recruited a multi-national group of experts in epidemiology, disease control, economics of animal health and other disciplines. For the Food Standards Agency Scotland, we provided benchmark standards for the food national surveillance system and we are doing similar work for the Food Safety Authority Ireland.
National preparedness requires tremendous coordination among U.S. federal, state, and local agencies to ensure common understanding of the issues, clear chain of command, and coordinated response and recovery to the public health and medical consequences of disasters and emergencies. ICF brings together public health, emergency management, disaster medicine, and a healthcare preparedness personnel along with first responders to plan, organize, equip, train, and exercise for effective responses and recovery from public health incidents. On behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), ICF is developing a Technical Resources Assistance Center and Information Exchange (TRACIE) for all partners—at the federal, state, local, and nonprofit and for-profit levels—to have access to information and resources throughout the continuum of tiers of public health and healthcare system preparedness, response, and recovery. TRACIE will provide stakeholders access to information, share promising practices, and identify and remedy knowledge gaps for private citizens as well as local, state, and federal officials.
ICF has assisted local jurisdictions in strengthening disaster preparedness by conducting large-scale disaster simulation training for the New York New Jersey Connecticut Pennsylvania Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Team and prepared jurisdiction- and region-specific preparedness and response plans for public health, emergency medical services, and health and medical surge for the national capital region. Our multifaceted solutions address policy- and decision-making; communications; planning; communications; resource coordination; personnel management; and policy, procedure, and plan implementation training and evaluation.