Across the Indo-Pacific, gaps in workforce capacity present a major health security threat. Australians have great expertise to offer countries across the Indo-Pacific in preventing, detecting and responding to infectious disease threats. The Health Security Corps was established to deploy volunteers and build capacity for the prevention, detection and control of infectious disease.
Following a halt to assignments in 2020, Health Security Corps positions are again being listed through Australian Volunteers.
Through Australia's Health Security Corps, volunteers bring specialist experience in strengthening laboratories, field epidemiology, policy development, public communication and animal health. The Health Security Corps works through the Australian Volunteers Program to deploy Australian health professionals in non-clinical roles in partner government agencies, NGOs, international organisations, research bodies and regional institutions. Health Security Corps deployments aim to build in-country capacity, and build valuable people-to-people and institutional links.
Health Security Corps volunteers are supported with regular opportunities to exchange information, as well as access to additional technical expertise and small grants through the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security.
Since the launch of the Health Security Intiative, volunteers have been deployed on more than 30 different assignments across Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Our volunteers have worked to build capacity in public health laboratories, health minstries, the World Health Organization and the United Nations, and on projects led by NGOs and research organisations.
In 2018, two Health Security Corps volunteers were deployed to work with WHO and national health ministries to strengthen field epidemiology training in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
Field epidemiologists play a critical role in helping to understand disease trends and to advise on control strategies. In total, eight epidemiologists have been deployed on long-term assignments through the Health Security Corps.
To boost laboratory capacity, five experts have been deployed to improve standards in public health laboratories in Dili, Port Vila and Yangon.
Recognising the importance of a One Health approach, ten deployments have had a focus on zoonotic diseases, building veterinary capacity, food security and environmental health.
In June 2019, 11 volunteers from the Health Security Corps took part in the Global Health Security Conference in Sydney.
The Health Security Corps is always looking for health professionals with skills including laboratory work, field epidemiology, policy development for disease control, public communication and animal health.
Read the story of Georgia Lack who has volunteered in Tonga twice.