Guatemala NPHI Launches with Health Promotion, Research Focus

Otto Perez Molina, President of Guatemala, signs the agreement for the official launch of the Guatemala Center for Disease Control.

On February 24, representatives from the Guatemala Ministry of Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control (U.S. CDC) gathered for the official launch of Guatemala's new national public health institute (NPHI).

Hoping to build upon and better integrate its existing public health capacities, the Guatemala Ministry of Health has called upon the technical expertise and network of IANPHI and the U.S. CDC to support Guatemala’s NPHI development.

Representatives from the U.S. CDC and IANPHI met with the Ministry of Health in January 2015 to discuss next steps for the creation of a comprehensive NPHI in Guatemala, and the U.S CDC has committed to providing financial support to the new institute.

The U.S. CDC and IANPHI see the potential for Guatemala to become a regional leader in public health through the creation of the nation’s comprehensive NPHI: the Centro de Control de Enfermedades Guatemala (CDCE).

New NPHI strives to protect health, with focus on promotion, prevention, surveillance, control, and disease response

With a mission to ‘protect the health of the Guatemalan population through promotion, prevention, surveillance, control, and response to new, emerging, and neglected diseases,’ the CDCE will serve as Guatemala’s national command center for public health, incorporating each of the essential public health functions.  

Responsibilities of the new institute will be divided among CDCE’s three main divisions: Management, Disease Research and Analysis, and Health Sciences. Also linked to the CDCE through an institutional agreement will be the Ministry of Health’s Risk Management Unit, National Center of Epidemiology (CNE), and the National Health Laboratory.

IANPHI fosters peer-to-peer relationship

IANPHI is committed to facilitating and supporting the creation of new NPHIs through its unique, peer-to-peer approach. By fostering peer “twinning” relationships between NPHIs, IANPHI encourages established NPHIs to share their experience and expertise with fledgling institutes.

IANPHI has linked the Guatemala CDCE with neighboring Colombia’s well-developed NPHI, the National Institute of Health. Guatemala’s “twinning” partnership with Colombia has already facilitated dialogue regarding the new institute’s structure, and Guatemala’s Ministry of Health will visit Colombia’s institute for a study tour later this month.

The U.S. CDC and IANPHI will continue to play an integral role in the next steps of CDCE’s creation, including an upcoming stakeholder’s meeting to discuss cooperation and collaboration among the Ministry of Health’s many public health divisions.

Photos courtesy of U.S. CDC Guatemala

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