ANU welcomes new agreement to train ASEAN health fellows

19 March 2018

ANU has welcomed a new agreement with the Australian Government to help train a new generation of health security experts across Southeast Asia.

The agreement, announced following the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney, will see the ANU National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health (NCEPH) run the new ASEAN-Australia Health Security Fellowship Program, in partnership with the Australian Government's Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security.

Professor Ross Andrews from NCEPH said the new agreement would see ANU train nurses, doctors, health officials and lab workers in how to deal with major health crises and disasters, such as a disease outbreak or the response to a major cyclone.

"The ASEAN-Australia Fellowship is a fantastic initiative that will allow us to support training in neighbouring countries and build stronger people to people linkages in the region," Professor Andrews said.

"The new fellowship will also help with cross-border collaboration and ensure we are best prepared to respond quickly to the health threats of the future."

Under the fellowships, nine health officials from ASEAN countries will do a two-year research degree in Applied Epidemiology at ANU, while based in their own country. In addition, eight Australian candidates will undertake field placements for one year each in ASEAN countries.

ANU has been running the Masters of Applied Epidemiology (MAE) for almost 30 years, building a network of health experts who can be deployed quickly to respond and manage health problems following major disasters.

MAE graduates have worked on the front-line responses to outbreaks of Ebola in West Africa, diphtheria in Bangladesh, and to cyclones in the South Pacific.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said the new partnership underlined the University's role as a major resource for the nation and the region.

"The new agreement with the Indo-Pacific Health Security Initiative is a great example of how our amazing ANU researchers are working every day to help solve some of the great challenges facing the world, and to improve the lives of people both at home and overseas," Professor Schmidt said.