Epidemiologists play a critical role in national and regional health security. Sometimes known as “disease detectives”, epidemiologists collect and analyse data from the field to understand the causes of infectious disease outbreaks and advise on containment measures.
The ASEAN-Australia Health Security Fellowships program was announced at the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney in March 2018, and is a major investment of the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security to increase capabilities to detect and contain infectious disease threats in the region. In partnership with the Australian National University (ANU), the Fellowships program aims to build high-level skills and expertise in epidemiology.
Fellows support the work of the Pasteur Institute in Cambodia, the National Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology in Laos and other regional institutions. As Australia's only field epidemiology training program, ANU’s Master of Philosophy in Applied Epidemiology (MAE) combines practical fieldwork on real disease challenges with intensive course blocks in Canberra.
The Fellowships program aims to develop national champions for health security who will return to Southeast Asia to lead outbreak responses and improve the quality of training programs in their home countries. Australian MAE students are supported to conduct fieldwork in partnership with research institutes in Southeast Asia, which will build capacity and contribute to addressing disease and development challenges for countries of Southeast Asia.
Australian and ASEAN Fellows will be twinned on placements to develop durable people-to-people links.
The Fellowships program focused on Cambodia and Laos in 2019, and five new students commenced in 2020 from Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos. To prepare and respond to outbreaks of COVID-19, all of the ASEAN-Australia Health Security Fellows have supported national efforts to contain the pandemic through research, contact tracing, disease modelling and screening.
Listen to a Contain This podcast featuring two Fellows from Vietnam.
Australia’s COVID-19 Response
The Australian Government is deeply concerned about the impact of COVID-19 in Myanmar. Australia's existing humanitarian and development programs continue to focus on COVID-19 prevention and mitigation including:
- providing oxygen related equipment;
- building sanitation infrastructure and isolation wards in internally displaced persons camps;
- distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) to affected communities;
- training and community engagement in disease outbreak surveillance and response;
- capacity building in field epidemiology; and
- strengthening laboratory and emergency health operations.
For more information visit Australia’s development assistance to Myanmar.