The NICD represents the country with respect to laboratory support for national programmes of the National and Provincial Departments of Health. As well as national support, the NICD provides global public health services as a collaborating laboratory or as a regional reference laboratory for global programmes such as the WHO.
The NICD has established co-operative agreements with august institutions such as the CDC and NIH/NIAID of the USA, the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Control) and the HPA (Health Protection Agency), as well as other internationally recognized institutions. The NICD thus endeavours to establish itself as one of the major global role players in communicable diseases, providing the world health community with important communicable diseases information originating from a continent, which has traditionally been one of the most important sources of new emerging infectious diseases.
For the African continent, the NICD provides a much needed laboratory and institutional resource. Diagnostic services, provision of reagents and biological materials and training facilities are made available to African countries to strengthen the existing African laboratory network for surveillance. The NICD serves to support regional countries including SADC countries in terms of AFP surveillance as well as an EQA/PT provider in terms of HIV-1 serving 40 countries and measles serving SADC countries as well as microbiological PT. The PT activities for both virology and microbiology are supported by WHO. The NICD also collaborated with Quality Control for Molecular Diagnostics (QCMD to provide nucleic acid PT for HIV-1 viral load and HIV-1 DNA testing.
Moreover, the NICD has been selected as a PEPRAR-supported site in the form terms of the African Centre for Integrated Laboratory Training (ACILT) that serves to train laboratory staff in various aspects to diagnosis, quality management and surveillance of communicable diseases and in particular HIV, TB and malaria.