The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), on behalf of the Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP), intends to award a contract to the Department of Communicable Disease Control (DCDC) of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR).
This effort, entitled “Technical Support for Disease Monitoring and Reporting Activities in PDR,” will provide for enhancement of the DCDC’s ability to detect pathogens, provide disease surveillance, and respond to outbreaks.
“The enhanced capability of the DCDC to detect, track, and share information on, pathogens with economic and security implications, such as anthrax and avian influenza, will directly benefit the United States, and her allies in the region,” states the announcement.
The DCDC was established in 2006 and bears responsibility for pandemic detection and response preparations within the PDR. In its efforts, the DCDC works closely with international health organizations such as the US Center for Disease Control (US CDC) and Institute Pasteur.
The primary tool through which the DCDC is building monitoring and reporting capabilities is the Field Epidemiology Training (FET) Initiative. Through this initiative, the DCDC is developing a cadre of technically capable health professionals networked throughout the country to manage surveillance and outbreak responses locally.
The FET provides a year-long experience for candidates which includes practical classroom instruction and field practicums which strengthen the national disease surveillance system. At the end of the training period, these students will be deployed throughout PDR at the regional and provincial level to function as first-responders to possible outbreaks of disease.
The planned DTRA contract will support and enhance the FET. DTRA will provide for approximately eight full time students and their associated projects. Deliverables will be reports detailing activities and findings from the students and projects.
Enhancing the FET directly aligns with CBEP’s stated mission to address global health security threats by working with partner nations and other stakeholders to improve biosafety, biosecurity, and disease surveillance for emerging pathogens that may cause public health emergencies of international concern (PHETC).
The Period of Performance for this effort is 12 months, with an estimated cost of $250,000.00