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Our staff are supporting the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in various capacities at the state, national and international levels:
Several of our staff members have been supporting various teams in the COVID-19 Public Health Response Branch and at local Public Health Units, managing and reporting SARS-COV-2 test results for returned travellers in hotel quarantine; undertaking analysis of the hotel quarantine COVID-19 routine screening program; providing secretariat support to the Expert Panel on the Review of COVID-19 Diagnoses and COVID-19 Testing Improvements Working Group; responding to public health enquiries; and providing health response and incident management support by undertaking outbreak investigations, including COVID-19 case interviews and contact tracing.
Two of our staff members, including NCIRS Director Professor Kristine Macartney, are supporting the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia (CDNA) by coordinating and providing technical input as part of the CDNA COVID-19 National Surveillance Working Party developing the National COVID-19 Surveillance Strategy, including:
Professor Macartney is a member of CDNA that provides national public health coordination and leadership, and supports best practice for the prevention and control of communicable diseases in Australia. CDNA is a sub-committee of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), the key decision-making committee for health emergencies.
Read the latest statement from the AHPPC about COVID-19 here.
One of our staff members worked as a consultant epidemiologist for the World Health Organization’s Division of Pacific Technical Support (DPS) based in Suva, Fiji, supporting COVID-19 preparedness and response activities in the region. The work involved implementing and strengthening surveillance systems in the context of COVID-19 by developing Pacific-specific guidelines, forms, advice, epidemiological analyses and conducting training sessions covering all aspects of COVID-19 surveillance, as well as other relevant syndromes such as influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI). DPS provides support to the 21 Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICs) in the region.
Another staff member was deployed through the ARM network to WPRO where they led the formulation of a regional COVID-19 surveillance strategy with corresponding tools and guidance to create country-specific plans that utilise and build on existing multi-source surveillance capabilities. They also piloted the surveillance strategy and tools in Cambodia, where they worked with the Ministry of Health and WHO country office to produce a plan to utilise and enhance community surveillance of COVID-19 in Cambodia.
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We acknowledge that the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) is on the land of the traditional owners the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the First Australians, and recognise their culture, history, diversity and their deep connection to the land. Together, through research and partnership, we aim to move to a place of equity for all. NCIRS also acknowledges and pays respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations from which our research, staff and community are drawn.
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