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COVID-19: FHI 360's Preparedness and Response Capabilities

Health workers tying each other's face masksPhoto credit: ER Productions Limited/Getty Images

FHI 360 addresses emerging pandemics, epidemics and outbreaks with expertise that supports health and security efforts in the United States and globally. We are experienced in addressing the complex aspects of zoonotic (animal to human) and other infectious diseases — from consumer and market research, risk communication, and infection prevention and control to clinical research on diagnostics, vaccines and treatment. Our work has included responses to outbreaks such as avian influenza, H1N1 pandemic influenza, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Ebola virus disease.

FHI 360 offers capabilities and technical expertise related to epidemic prevention and preparedness, detection and response. These capabilities — combined with our broad expertise and ability in working with multiple partners and enabled by our family of companies and significant global footprint — make FHI 360 uniquely positioned to support the COVID-19 response.








Behavioral risk identification and mitigation

Social and behavior change to reduce spillover, amplification and spread

Water, sanitation and hygiene

Product quality and compliance

Market-related biosecurity


Community- and facility-based surveillance

Diagnostic networks strengthening

Laboratory and health facility biosecurity


Frontline health care workers equipage

Risk communication

Crisis response

Development of vaccines and medicines

Support to essential services, such as education

Strengthening the enabling environment

Health system strengthening, nutrition, policy and legal analysis, workforce development and economic strengthening, education in emergencies, civil society strengthening, mobile technology, gender and social inclusion, research utilization.

Prevention and preparedness

FHI 360 has been at the forefront of helping to identify people at high risk of disease transmission from zoonotic and infectious disease; identifying the practices and behaviors that put them at risk; and then developing, testing and supporting ways to reduce that risk. We use a range of human-centered design and qualitative and quantitative research to understand barriers to and motivators of behavior change. We then design and implement social and behavior change strategies for doable behaviors in the context of customs and norms. Inclusivity of community members, health providers and stakeholders, and interagency partners and host country governments is a hallmark of our approach.

  • FHI 360 has developed and implemented social and behavior change strategies in 35 countries to address avian influenza and has supported Ebola preparedness and response in numerous countries in East Africa, West Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • In Asia, FHI 360 worked to improve worksite and market safety and biosecurity to prevent and mitigate transmission of infectious disease.
  • Our work in the United States has included social marketing research and communication campaigns to promote prevention through vaccination for both adults and children, including H1N1 immunization.
  • Our product quality and compliance team provides independent and objective quality assurance and quality control services and technical assistance related to pharmaceutical and medical device procurement and distribution. We support the U.S. Agency for International Development and other partners to ensure that global health commodities meet international standards for quality, safety and efficacy and are suitable for use. We also work to manage supply chain delays and challenges related to epidemics.
  • FHI 360 provides global leadership in reframing hygiene promotion to focus on improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices. We do this through behavior-centered programming that considers the role of improved products and services, as well as communication tactics.

Mother using hand sanitizer on her daughter's handsPhoto credit: d3sign/Getty Images


FHI 360 supports countries to detect priority diseases through building national and subnational capacities to improve diagnostic networks and surveillance systems in adherence with a One Health approach.

  • Our laboratory and health facility strengthening and biosecurity work has spanned more than 30 countries, resulting in stronger specimen referral and supply chain systems, biosafety and security standards, laboratory quality management systems, surveillance system linkages, infection control and medical waste management.
  • FHI 360 also works closely with health system actors and governments to improve approaches to community- and facility-based surveillance for infectious disease. We integrate strong community engagement strategies in response to diseases such as Ebola to reduce community resistance, address myths and misconceptions and encourage local ownership to improve surveillance outcomes.
  • We have significantly improved HIV testing yield through the use of innovative approaches to index and contact tracing in hard-to-reach communities. Similar approaches to contact tracing and investigation have also improved identification of tuberculosis patients missed by facility-based, passive testing. These strategies are strongly applicable to detecting and reducing the incidence of emerging infectious diseases, such as COVID-19.


As our name reflects, we take a 360-degree approach to our response work, building from existing health, civil society and education systems whenever possible. We address health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care at all stages of the response.

  • FHI 360 meets the urgent needs of people whose lives have been impacted and are jeopardized by conflict, disaster or displacement. Our multifaceted crisis response capacity and programs integrate lifesaving health care, nutritional assistance, safe water sources, and sanitation and hygiene support for people affected by crises.
  • Through our education in emergencies team, we reestablish systems and renew hope in the wake of conflict, crisis or fragility.
  • Our work directly supports frontline health care workers and other responders in protecting themselves from illnesses, such as Ebola and avian influenza, and supports families and communities with prevention, care and treatment needs.
  • We are experienced in assisting governments to actively monitor and respond to changing information needs and misinformation.
  • We have worked with interagency stakeholders and governments to design risk communication strategies that respond to emerging infectious disease needs and have supported the development of subnational risk communication structures.
  • FHI 360 works with governments and mobile money service providers to digitize salary payments, particularly for frontline health workers.

Health worker wearing a mask looking into a microscopePhoto credit: Mbuto Machili/FHI 360

Clinical trials

FHI Clinical supports the development of lifesaving vaccines and medicines and is engaged in the early stages of multiple COVID-19 clinical trials. Our staff are experts at rapid start-up and management of complex clinical research at sites diverse in geographic area and research capacity, including during outbreaks.

Strengthening the enabling environment

Our approach to addressing emerging infectious diseases includes a range of mutually reinforcing, integrated solutions designed for the holistic needs of families, communities and systems. These include:

  • Health systems strengthening: FHI 360 applies systems thinking and systems improvement tools to different situations and programs, covering both the public and private sectors and all levels of health systems.
  • Policy and legal analysis: FHI 360 has mapped the legal and policy landscape in 25 countries related to the Global Health Security Agenda’s Action Packages.
  • Economic strengthening and workforce development: FHI 360 provides economic stabilization and economic recovery services working within market systems to promote financial resilience, livelihoods strategies, entrepreneurship and employability in a variety of contexts. Our approaches link health and economic solutions in sectors including agriculture, water and sanitation, and textiles and tourism. These approaches also provide critical linkages to referral systems, skills providers and private-sector employers.
  • Education in emergencies: FHI 360 customizes programing in fragile, post-conflict and crisis recovery settings to increase access to safe, relevant and quality education - through non-formal schools, distance learning, IRI, and other modalities - while building long-term resilience within the education system.
  • Civil society strengthening: FHI 360 increases citizen knowledge and engagement; strengthens the capacity of nongovernmental organizations to provide critical services and hold government accountable for improvements in health-related services provision; and strengthens health-related legislation, public health processes and the availability of health-related information.
  • Mobile technology to improve effectiveness and efficiency: FHI 360 applies innovative mobile technology tools to improve access, coverage, quality control and overall safety of health care services.
  • Gender and social inclusion: FHI 360 advances the status, decision-making power and opportunities for women and girls and engages men and boys in seeking health care and changing inequitable gender norms. We also integrate gender-based violence prevention and mitigation throughout our programs.
  • Research utilization: FHI 360 is a global leader in applying an evidence-based, systematic approach to accelerating the application of new and underused evidence in policy and practice. We offer experience in knowledge management, stakeholder engagement, policy advocacy, translation of research findings into products and promotion of scale-up and institutionalization of evidence-based interventions.
  • Nutrition: Through research, advocacy and implementation, the FHI family of companies delivers groundbreaking work in social and behavior change in infant and young child feeding, the development and enforcement of breastfeeding policies, early newborn care, dietary assessment, the clinical management of severe malnutrition and the coordination of multisectoral efforts to address malnutrition.

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