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ZIG 4: Public Health Laboratory Support

Sabrina Weiss
Veronica Briesemeister, Grit Schubert

ZIG 4 activities focus on strengthening infectious disease diagnostic and research capacities in international public health laboratories. Reliable and rapid diagnostics of infectious agents is one of the most important pillars of well-functioning health systems and key to countries being able to quickly detect and respond to disease outbreaks. This requires experienced and well-trained staff, as well as the availability of appropriate equipment and timely access to consumables. ZIG 4 fosters these capabilities based on long-term partnerships, but also by providing international emergency support when needed. Every situation is different, and therefore each project is tailored to the local needs and challenges expressed by the partners. To ensure highest quality support to partners, the unit is continuously improving and expanding their portfolio on pathogen diagnostics and implementing it in its training laboratory at RKI premises.

ZIG 4 partner countries are located in different parts of the world with a geographic focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and the West Balkans. To create synergies with other global health initiatives ZIG 4 collaborates with various national and international institutions, such as the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence.


  • Establish and improve laboratory capacities for pathogen diagnostics
  • Strengthening public health laboratory workforce through training of staff on site and at RKI
  • Implementation of best practices for quality management and biosafety and biosecurity at trainings and in partner laboratories
  • Develop projects and research activities to enhance international health protection
  • Support partners with the implementation of projects
  • Collaborate with national and international partners for setting up mobile laboratory capacities
  • Support outbreak response activities in affected countries upon bilateral request or through networks such as the Global Outbreak and Response Network (GOARN) or the German Epidemic Preparedness Team (SEEG Schnell Einsetzbare Expertengruppe Gesundheit), including coordination of the support for SEEG at RKI

Date: 05.10.2023