For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded the Academy for Educational Development (AED) a five-year, multimillion-dollar cooperative agreement called PREVENT to develop and implement effective behavior change and communications interventions that reduce the risk of emerging zoonotic diseases.
PREVENT, which is slated to work in four geographic areas (the Gangetic Plain, Amazon River Basin, Congo River Basin, and Southeast Asia), is part of the USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats Program - a specialized set of projects that build on the successes of the Agency's 30 years of work in disease surveillance, training and outbreak response.
"In recent times, 75 percent of all new human illnesses--such as HIV, SARS, avian influenza, and H1N1--have emerged as a result of the convergence of people, animals and our environment. These diseases have had a devastating public health and economic impact on large populations," said Dr. Dennis Carroll, director of the Avian and Pandemic Influenza Unit at USAID. "The speed with which they can spread across the increasingly interconnected globe puts a premium on identification and launch of rapid containment and response as early as possible when new diseases emerge. Being able to identify these viruses before they move to full-scale human to human transmission is the underlying objective of this award."
AED's cross-cutting activities will identify high-risk practices and groups and formulate behavior change strategies and interventions to meet the challenges posed by these emerging diseases. This award builds on the work AED has done over the past four years in behavior change and communication related to H5N1 (avian flu) and pandemic H1N1 influenza.
"AED is very pleased to be able to continue its work in emerging infectious diseases under PREVENT. With the threats from avian flu and now pandemic H1N1 influenza, more people now recognize the critical importance that communication can play in helping control disease outbreaks," said Margaret Parlato, senior vice-president and director of AED's Global Health, Population, and Nutrition Group.
AED, a private non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., is joined by several leading partners in emerging infectious diseases and behavior change and communication, including Global Viral Forecasting Incorporated (GVFInc) and G6 Consulting.
GVFInc is a leader in conducting infectious disease research and has piloted the first global early warning system to prevent novel pandemics. By coupling innovative surveillance in field sites throughout the world with a consortium of top laboratories, GVFInc is able to characterize the diversity of viruses and other agents as they move from animals into human populations.
G6 Consulting is a member of Brodeur Partners' companies founded in 2004 expressly for the purpose of providing senior level consulting, crisis communications, and primary and secondary research that forms and drives communications for global movements.
The PREVENT project will be managed out of USAID's Avian and Pandemic Influenza Unit.
For more information about USAID, please visit www.usaid.gov.
Last updated: February 28, 2012