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Extending diagnostic capacities for lassa virus in Togo, 2016. Source: © Michael Nagel - GIZ

The German Epidemic Preparedness Team (SEEG)

Infectious disease outbreaks occur almost every day somewhere in the world. Delayed or inadequate responses to these outbreaks can have serious consequences in terms of loss of life and development gains. It is therefore essential to strengthen health systems worldwide and to empower health workers to rapidly identify and contain infectious disease threats.

As a key component of Germany's engagement, and in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) established the German Epidemic Preparedness Team (SEEG) in 2015. Since then the SEEG has carried out about 60 missions to countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The SEEG operates as a multisectoral, multidisciplinary rapid response team coordinated by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of BMZ, the German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) and the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). The SEEG comprises experts from the Robert Koch Institute, the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine and the Charité – Universitäts­medizin Berlin. RKI’s liaison officer is affiliated to the unit of Public Health Laboratory Support (ZIG 4) at the Centre for International Health Protection.

The main objective of the SEEG is to provide partner countries with actionable expertise in epidemic and pandemic preparedness and response, based on needs and requests. SEEG supports partner countries within different areas of expertise like capacity development, laboratory strengthening, outbreak preparedness and response, infection prevention and control, and intersectoral collaboration. To this end, the deployed SEEG teams work closely with local partners in order to understand local capacity, identify gaps and provide tailored solutions for an effective management of infectious disease outbreaks under a One Health approach.

Date: 19.02.2024