Health Security Initiative Mid-Term Progress Report 2017-2019

The mid-term progress report on the Australian Government’s Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific region was completed in May 2021. The Initiative was launched in October 2017 with an allocation of $300 million over five years funded from the Australian aid program. Its goal is to contribute to the avoidance and containment of infectious disease threats with the potential to cause social and economic harms on a national, regional or global scale.

The Australian Government Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, located within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), was established in 2017 to lead implementation of the Initiative. It is staffed by a multidisciplinary team comprising a mix of DFAT staff, secondees from other Australian government departments and contractors.

The Centre has a mandate to fund program investments and, in consultation with the Department of Health, lead Australia’s international policy engagement on health security. It is advised by an Australia-based expert Technical Reference Group and a whole-of-government Government Reference Group.

The Centre has taken a highly consultative approach to strategy and program formulation since inception, including scoping missions to the Pacific and Southeast Asia and a series of consultative design workshops in Australia.

The purpose of the Mid-term Progress Report is to assess progress towards the Initiative’s strategic objectives to the end of calendar year 2019 and identify key results and challenges. It draws upon evidence from a review of project progress reports, expenditure analysis, a survey of the Centre’s staff, and interviews and focus groups with a broad range of 49 stakeholders. The report makes recommendations for management actions for the remaining period of implementation and will inform consideration of future strategic directions.

The Centre is currently at the forefront of Australia’s international response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As this report covers the period from October 2017 to December 2019, it focuses on the preparedness of the Centre to respond to COVID-19, rather than the full extent of its response.

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