Tools and Resources

IANPHI makes available a toolkit for the development of National Public Health Institutes to assist member countries and partners, and provides additional resources such as fact sheets, best practices and annual meeting information.

Tool Kit for National Public Health Institutes

IANPHI provides technical assistance to countries that are setting up or enhancing their National Public Health Institutes (NPHI). To assist member countries and partners in these efforts, we are developing a toolkit for NPHI development based on our growing body of experience.

The IANPHI Framework for the Creation and Development of National Public Health Institutes (NPHI) is a guide to the formation and growth of the world's NPHIs.

The Framework provides a common conceptual basis and language for discussing NPHIs, presents models of how they function, and suggests approaches for countries thinking of creating or expanding their NPHIs. The document was developed with extensive review and contributions from several IANPHI member directors and their top advisors. The IANPHI Secretariat and Executive Board also contributed to the materials. 

Learn more about the IANPHI Framework for NPHI Development

Building upon the experience of IANPHI and adapted from IANPHI’s Framework for National Public Health Institutes (NPHI) Development, the Framework for Development of NPHIs is tailored to African context and describes NPHIs, including core aspects of their operations and public health functions.

It includes topics for NPHIs to consider as they develop, such as mandates, guiding principles and activities that are vital to create, strengthen and sustain NPHIs. The appendices can serve as guidance documents for African countries that want to create more robust and effective national public health capacities.

The creation of this document was a collaborative effort between: 

  • Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Human Development and Public Health Initiative, Nigeria
  • International Association of National Public Health Institutes
  • Mozambique Instituto Nacional de Sáude
  • Public Health England
  • South Africa National Institute for Communicable Diseases
  • US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Zambia National Public Health Institute

Available in four languages:

English  French 

Portuguese  Arabic

Creating a National Public Health Institute (NPHI) usually involves bringing together functions that previously existed in separate organizational units, sometimes with the addition of functions or units that did not previously exist in the national government. Many NPHIs are largely developed from units within Ministries of Health and may not have specific legal language that specifies their functions and authorities. Others have their origin in research institutes, some of which are authorized by laws.

Regardless of the organizations or parts of organizations that comprise the new NPHI, a legal framework that clearly defines what the NPHI will do and how it will operate is an important step to providing the clarity of mission, governance, leadership, and finance that contribute to success.

The purpose of this document – Providing a Legal Framework for an NPHI – is to describe the types of legal mechanisms countries are using to establish NPHIs or enhance the stature of existing NPHIs and the issues typically addressed. It also describes processes countries have used to place NPHIs on sound legal footing, and some of the typical challenges and facilitating factors encountered. It includes detailed descriptions of content that countries might want to include in their legal frameworks and case studies from countries with varied experiences creating NPHIs by decree, law, or regulation.

The creation of this document was a collaborative effort between:

  • Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Emory University School of Law
  • Guinea Bissau National Institute of Public Health
  • International Association of National Public Health Institutes
  • Mozambique Instituto Nacional de Sáude
  • National Public Health Institute of Liberia
  • Nigeria Centre for Disease Control
  • Public Health England
  • South Africa National Institute for Communicable Diseases
  • US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Available in four languages:

English  French

Portuguese  Arabic

National Public Health Institutes (NPHI) sometimes struggle to define the most critical next steps that will improve capacity for core public health functions and effective and efficient internal operations. To fill this gap, U.S. CDC and IANPHI, in consultation with a group of NPHI leaders from around the world, developed the Staged Development Tool (SDT). The tool helps NPHIs assess their current capacity and develop a roadmap for achieving a higher level of functioning.

WHAT IS THE Staged Development Tool?

The SDT uses a maturity model to help NPHIs assess their capacities in priority areas and identify areas for improvement. Twenty-eight Discussion Guides provide detailed descriptions for what might be found at NPHIs at different stages of maturity or development.

The Discussion Guides include both external-facing topics (such as surveillance and research) and internal-facing topics (such as leadership and management). They facilitate conversations that help participants clarify their NPHI’s current state, desired state, and major gaps that need to be addressed to move to their ideal state.

WHO CAN USE THE Staged Development Tool?

The SDT can be used by established NPHIs or during the development of an NPHI if it is clear what groups and which people will comprise the NPHI. The SDT process is designed to be facilitated. We recommend using an external facilitator trained on how to use the tool, especially if the NPHI is using the SDT for the first time.

Learn more about the Staged Development Tool

Tapping its unparalleled global expertise, IANPHI developed a unique Peer-to-Peer Evaluation Tool, which is now available to its member institutes interested in an external evaluation. The scope, focus, and terms of the evaluation were developed at the behest of the NPHI directors.

After the 2012 annual meeting in Mexico, IANPHI launched the development of the evaluation tool, based on our experience with the China CDC comprehensive evaluation in August 2010; more targeted evaluations of some essential public health functions or program areas such as non-communicable diseases, tobacco control, and injury that are carried out as part of some IANPHI development projects; and on the experience of the NPHIs with several types of external evaluations.

How to Start an Evaluation

Upon request, IANPHI has the capacity to assemble a team of NPHI directors or senior experts to carry out the external evaluation using different tools developed from the IANPHI Framework for NPHI Development, which set common grounds for definition of the EPHFs and core attributes of NPHIs. The IANPHI evaluation team provides a formal evaluation report with recommendations to the NPHI director.

The Evaluation Tool takes into account the diversity of NPHIs. By pooling and sharing experience, IANPHI has developed principles for the evaluation of an NPHI. The aim is to deliver a tool useful for the NPHI director to demonstrate the contribution of the NPHI in its national specific context, and to draw main recommendations that could provide orientations to improve the quality of their services and impact on public health.

For more information, or to participate in an evaluation exercise, contact us at Funds to cover the costs of such evaluation should be provided by the NPHIs.

Access the Peer-to-Peer Evaluation Tool

See also: A team from IANPHI and its member NPHIs conducted a peer-to-peer evaluation in Brussels, Belgium, in April 2015.

Learn more about this peer-to-peer evaluation experience

The Best Practice series provides suggestions for National Public Health Institutes (NPHI) on a range of topics related to internal-facing issues, such as those related to leadership and management.

For each topic, Best Practices includes a guidance document. Some Best Practices may also include one or more case studies describing the experiences of NPHIs from around the world.

Legal Mandates and Governance for NPHIs

Read the Best Practice

Case Study: Creating the National Public Health Institute of Liberia

Read the Case Study

Establishing an NPHI Foundation

Read the Best Practice

Case Study: U.S. Center for Disease Control Foundation 

Read the Case Study


Read the Best Practice

Case Study: IANPHI/Heymann Mentorship Program

Read the Case Study

Case Study: Nigerian Institute of Medical Research

Read the Case study

Building a Business Case for NPHI Creation

Read the Best Practice

NPHI Staff Retention

Read the Best Practice

Recruiting an NPHI Director

Read the Best Practice

Each National Public Health Institute (NPHI) is different and develops in a unique way. To understand the factors that supported the successful creation and growth of our member NPHIs, IANPHI talked to the leaders of several institutes to understand how their NPHIs had been created – why are NPHIs formed, key ingredients to their successes, and barriers to greater impact.

This series of case studies reveal the stories of the NPHIs and provide insights into the process of NPHI development that we hope will be useful to others. 

Integration of Tiered Networks within Public Health Institutes: The Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) Experience

In the last decade, Ethiopia has achieved numerous public health successes, among them early attainment of health-related Millennium Development Goals, strong tuberculosis (TB) management program, and progress toward eradication of Guinea worm disease.

Read the Case Study

Ethiopia Public Health Institute (EPHI)

In 2013, EPHI was created from one primary precursor organization, the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute (EHNRI), but is the final result of nearly 90 years of evolving public health institute arrangements in Ethiopia. 

Read the Case Study

Institut Pasteur du Maroc

In Morocco, NPHI functions are dispersed among three agencies. Professor Mohammed Hassar describes his vision for consolidating into a single institute and the potential benefits and challenges associated with such a consolidation.

Read the Case Study

National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), South Africa

In 2002, a government restructuring provided an opportunity to create an NPHI in South Africa. Professor Barry describes the critical factors in ensuring the success of a new agency.

Read the Case Study

Public Health Agency of Canada

In 2003, outbreaks of acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) resulted in a public health crisis in Canada and led to the creation of a new NPHI. Dr. David Butler-Jones provides his perspectives on issues and lessons learned in developing an NPHI.

Read the Case Study

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

From its roots as an agency fighting malaria, U.S. CDC has become one of the largest and most influential public health institutions in the world. Dr. David Sencer describes the growth of U.S. CDC and some of its challenges.

Read the Case Study

Overview of How to Structure Key Messages for a Given Public Health Topic

These guidelines were developed for a media relations training workshop in Abuja for Nigeria Centre For Disease Control and is applicable for all National Public Health Institutes on any public health issue.

Communications objective:

What are we trying to achieve with the information in this document?

Authorized spokespersons:

Names, titles, email, contact information of everyone who is assigned to communicate with the media or public about an issue.


Explain the issue (ex. a summary of the outbreak, its geographic scope, how many people are impacted) in a paragraph or two.

Communications risks:

What are the risks of communicating on this topic with the media? Also, what are the risks of NOT communicating on this topic? 


Decide if your objective is best-served by communicating proactively, or by waiting to react to a media inquiry? 

Reminder of Standard Operating Procedure for this particular issue:

Write out the decision making process for creating, approving and updating these talking points, including names and contact for relevant leadership and technical experts.

Talking Points:

What are the key messages we want to convey, in order of importance? Radio and television news stories are typically very short, so it's essential that you deliver your most important messages first, clearly and often.

Questions and Answers:

The same information as above, but presented in Q&A format.

Message House:

The message house is a graphical format for organizing and memorizing key messages. It's a very helpful tool for paring down a large amount of information into priority items. Forcing yourself to organize messages into the message house format will help you choose and deliver the most important messages to deliver during time-constrained interviews.

What questions do we fear being asked?

Imagine the most difficult interview situation - the questions you dread being asked - and try to prepare for them.


Who is responsible for keeping the technical information in this document up-to-date?

Additional Resources

Saving Lives Through National Public Health Institutes 

(updated in October 2018)

Created to support its efforts to encourage the development of NPHIs, this fact sheet answers these questions: What are NPHI's and why are they important? Who are the leaders of IANPHI? How is IANPHI helping countries create or strengthen NPHIs? How can you create an NPHI in your country?

Open the Fact Sheet

Tools and Resources for IANPHI Members 

(updated in October 2018)

The International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI) has developed tools and resources to help members strengthen the effectiveness of their efforts. Some of the major tools and resources are listed and described below. Additional information can be found at IANPHI also assists NPHIs through technical assistance, training, and providing access to a collegial and interconnected community of NPHIs.

Open the Fact Sheet

The IANPHI Annual Meeting provides opportunities for NPHI directors to share experiences and expertise, discuss common issues, and plan for future collaborations. In addition to robust scientific benchmarking and technical sessions, the meeting is a rich setting for developing professional and institutional linkages.

The 2020 IANPHI Annual Meeting will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next December. Further information will soon be made available.

The 2019 IANPHI Annual Meeting was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

See the 2019 IANPHI Annual Meeting Presentations

See the official conclusion of the IANPHI Executive Board