Canada-Asia Regional Emerging Infectious Disease (CAREID) Project

Canada-Asia Regional Emerging Infectious Disease (CAREID) Project

The Canada-Asia Regional Emerging Infectious Disease (CAREID) project aims to strengthen the capacity of Cambodia, Laos PDR, the Philippines, and Vietnam with collaboration from Thailand to detect and respond effectively to emerging infectious diseases (EIDs). By strengthening regional and national capacity in emerging infectious disease surveillance and response, EID’s will be detected promptly and effectively contained to minimize illness, death and financial loss.

This Canadian project led by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and funded by the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) ($4.3M), is scheduled for completion in December, 2012. It was conceived as a result of SARS and in recognition that globalization has made infectious disease spread possible across the globe within 36 hours.

CAREID focuses on strengthening capacity in the following areas:

  • improved surveillance and outbreak investigation and response;
  • emergency response preparedness for new disease emergencies and public health events;
  • strengthened laboratory systems and capacity; and
  • risk communications.

1. Surveillance, Outbreak Investigation & Response

The Surveillance Outbreak Investigation and Response (SOIR) area of the CAREID project focuses on the identification, confirmation and response to emergent infectious diseases.  Effective surveillance ensures that accurate information with broad geographic and socio-economic scope is collected and transmitted to relevant health authorities as quickly as possible. Because human infectious diseases often have their origin in zoonotic disease, surveillance should also marry information and data related to both animal and human health.

One of the CAREID project’s central goals is to help participants build surveillance capacity at both the national and regional levels within their respective countries. This is achieved by providing a wide range of in-service training to public health professionals and national surveillance system experts. In order to accommodate participants’ diverse professional and educational backgrounds, CAREID offers training modules and materials in both basic and advanced surveillance, outbreak investigation and response methods.

2. Emergency Preparedness and Response

The emergency preparedness and response (EPR) area of the CAREID project promotes and supports the translation of knowledge into practice to help strengthen regional and national capacity to prepare for and respond to possible health risks arising from emerging infectious diseases (and likewise, natural disasters, catastrophic accidents or criminal and terrorist acts).

CAREID activities promote strengthened EPR capacity by sourcing appropriate technical training materials and collaborating with regional and national experts to adopt them to support training opportunities within participating countries and in the region. The EPR goal is to support regional and national experts in developing cross-disciplinary training materials and training activities for public health professionals to build national and regional expertise for ongoing strengthening of rapid response teams at various government levels. EPR collaborative and train-the-trainer approaches promote sustainable capacity building through investment in professional development of national and regional human resources and integration of CAREID supported training activities into established national training schemes (e.g. annual Rapid Response Teams training activities).

3. Risk Communications

A relatively new field, risk communications is now recognized as a necessary component of health and environmental risk management and decision-making and, consequently, is an integral part of the CAREID project. Strategic risk communications includes all communication content and interactions that can influence risk decisions and behaviour.CAREID’s risk communications technical activities are designed to promote the development of basic risk communication processes and systems to help participating countries meet the diverse demands entailed by public health emergencies, such as an outbreak of highly infectious disease.

4. Strengthening Laboratory Systems and Capacity

Quality Management Systems

CAREID’s quality assurance activities were delivered to support the implementation of laboratory quality management systems in laboratories in participating countries at both national and regional levels, in order to strengthen laboratory operations and testing.

Quality management systems activities undertaken by CAREID are designed to meet the priorities and specific needs of participants. The activities include writing standard operation procedures that meet international standards; developing quality assurance/assessments and quality control processes; integrating safety procedures into laboratory standard operation procedures; and training laboratory personnel in the proper collection, handling, processing of laboratory specimens and internal audit.


Many of the countries participating in the CAREID project identified an associated need for skill and knowledge development in the biosafety field. Since biosafety is the foundation to ensure laboratory effectiveness, a wide variety of exercises were initiated through the CAREID project. For example, participants worked to develop and implement national biosafety guidelines, standards and regulations and draft biosafety regulations in accordance with international standards. CAREID also delivered training on Infectious Substance Shipment, and helped participating countries develop their own biosafety training modules. These activities were designed to be reinforced over the duration of the project through targeted training at the regional level to help ensure that CAREID goals are sustainable in the long term. 

Laboratory  Networking

The objective of laboratory networking is collaboration and alignment of national and regional laboratory and public health objectives and deliverables. The CAREID project helps support the work of other donors in the laboratory networking field by sharing Canada’s technical knowledge accumulated through Canada’s own experience in federal/provincial laboratory networking. This support is intended to advance laboratory networking in participating countries’ activities at the national level, and provide a base from which to carry those activities forward, through and beyond the duration of the CAREID project itself.

CAREID is engaged in:
  • needs assessment;
  • capacity development, knowledge and skill transfer through mentoring and coaching, training and workshops, internships and exchanges;
  • system and network development, protocols and plans, guidelines, operating manuals, information and technology; and
  • the development of supporting policies and procedures (such as for risk communications).

CAREID is aligned with the World Health Organization (WHO) Asia/Pacific Regional Strategy on emerging infectious disease which provides a framework for strengthening capacity in early detection, rapid response and preparedness. CAREID coordinates with the WHO, other donors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the region, to ensure project complementarity and avoid duplication of activities. This also ensures long term sustainability of the project's efforts given that some of these NGOs, including the WHO will build on some of the CAREID tools in the future.

Through the CAREID project, PHAC ensures that we meet our obligations under International Health Regulations (IHR) to help the international community prevent and respond to public health risks that can potentially cross borders and threaten people worldwide, thereby ensuring that individuals living in Canada are also better protected.

CAREID Project Success Stories

CAREID Project Partner Country Links


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