Infectious Diseases

An infant receives an essential immunization. Photo credit: URC

Infectious Diseases

Tremendous progress has been achieved in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria. TB and malaria are trending towards global elimination targets thanks to comprehensive prevention and treatment programs and the collaboration of global and regional alliances. In much of the world, HIV is becoming a chronic, manageable disease. Preventable death in women and children due to malaria and diarrheal disease has significantly declined. Still, infectious diseases continue to exact a heavy toll worldwide. And neglected tropical diseases impact the lives of more than one billion people, with the world’s poorest suffering the most.

Emerging and reemerging infectious disease threats – including COVID-19, Zika, Ebola, avian influenza, and the spread of antimicrobial resistant pathogens – demand a renewed commitment to rapid, coordinated disease surveillance and outbreak response.

Many of the world’s most marginalized people remain out of reach of essential health resources that prevent, test, treat, and manage infectious diseases. Avoidable morbidity and mortality, linked to poverty, threaten human lives and livelihoods. Continued efforts to strengthen country leadership, governance, and management of infectious disease programs, are critical.

Holistic patient care

“URC’s approach to HIV/AIDS service delivery bridges the space between chronic care for HIV patients and global health security – with targeted interventions to stem the spread of COVID-19 – and effectively disseminate health messaging, prevention, treatment, testing and vaccination to holistically address community health.”
Beth Turesson
Senior Technical Advisor – Infectious Diseases

URC has been a leader in the global fight against infectious diseases for decades. URC has also made significant gains in the areas of antimicrobial resistance, especially dangerous pathogens (EDPs) and surveillance strategies for communicable diseases. Our work through country, regional, and global projects has supported ministries of health, private health providers, local and international organizations and communities to strengthen their infectious disease response to existing and emerging threats.

URC’s work strengthens health systems holistically across all components:

  • Community-level prevention efforts, communication campaigns, advocacy, and engagement, ranging from insecticide-treated net distribution to community theater, immunization uptake campaigns, and the introduction of advocacy groups to empower young girls and women affected by HIV/AIDS;
  • Sub-national level support to district health leaders and providers to improve the quality of service delivery through quality improvement collaboratives, knowledge management, shared learning, and health workforce development; and
  • National-level efforts to strengthen a coordinated infectious disease response, including preparedness and planning efforts for outbreaks of Ebola and Zika, support to information systems and networks to improve surveillance, strengthening laboratory diagnostics, streamlining supply chains, and scaling up the use of innovative digital technologies.

URC has championed global efforts to rapidly scale up responses to new and emerging infectious diseases. We are on the frontlines supporting country efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 by improving vaccine confidence and facilitating the rollout of vaccination campaigns. These efforts are essential to sustain the gains made to control infectious diseases for improved health worldwide.


As COVID-19 transitions from a pandemic to a global security threat, URC continues to empower ministries of health, other government agencies, civil society, communities, and partners to implement response strategies. This includes supporting country health systems and supply chains for an effective response at the community and regional levels. Resourceful project teams have maintained services by setting up tents outside facilities, expanding multi-month dispensing of drugs at community drop points, and so much more. Efforts have centered on:

Maintaining Essential Health Services
URC is ensuring continuity of essential services and integration of COVID-19 responses within infectious and chronic disease and primary health services. Working within an ever changing landscape of lockdowns, URC teams are safely ensuring the provision of health services, distributing and providing training on personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, facilitating case finding through health facility and community linkages, and ensuring safe treatment of those infected. And we are supporting vaccine campaigns and vaccine uptake. Below is a sampling of our approaches ranging from the traditional on-the-ground community health worker to use of popular digital platforms to reach those in need.

Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and Facility-Based Quality Improvement (QI)
URC has used its expertise in QI and the capacity building of human resources for health to improve facility-level care provision while also mitigating risks posed by COVID-19. Across programs, URC has carried out IPC trainings on improved COVID-19 case management, containment, and mitigation. We expanded web-based platform use for trainings.

Supporting Behavior Change
URC couples health system strengthening with subnational efforts to improve COVID-19 prevention. We support the implementation of continued COVID-19 behavior change and risk communication through mass communication campaigns, social media engagement including WhatsApp groups to combat misinformation, targeted community outreach, and social mobilization efforts.

Supporting Vaccine Readiness/Distribution
URC is supporting the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns by offering evidence-based guidance to ministries of health with COVID-19 vaccine micro mapping, planning, coordination, resource mobilization, capacity building of vaccination teams, and social and behavior change campaigns to build vaccination confidence.


The USAID Regional Health Integration to Enhance Services in both East Central and North Acholi (RHITES-EC and RHITES-N, Acholi) activities led HIV/AIDS service delivery across all PEPFAR program areas, while simultaneously providing COVID-19 treatment, prevention, and vaccination support. Through the Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program, URC works to prevent, test, treat, and manage HIV/AIDS in the military populations of EswatiniNiger, and Uganda.

The TB CARE II ProjectTB South Africa Project, Defeat TB Activity, and TB Platforms for Sustainable TB Detection, Care, and Treatment Project provided leadership to the global effort to eliminate TB.

Our malaria projects including the President’s Malaria Initiative Eliminate Malaria Activity and the Defeat Malaria Activity in Myanmar, and the Cambodia Malaria Elimination Project have made a lasting impact on efforts to contain multi-drug resistant malaria and move the Greater Mekong Subregion closer to malaria elimination.