icon icon icon icon icon icon icon

PHE Preparedness Initiative

To build the capacity of CARE and of the communities to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to public health emergencies (PHE), with an emphasis on enhancing disease prevention through community engagement and early detection through community-based surveillance.


At the beginning of the PHE Preparedness Initiative, the central provinces of Kasai-Oriental and Sankuru were experiencing a cholera outbreak, with over 1,000 cases and nearly 100 deaths attributed to the disease in the first four months. CARE worked to enhance the country’s existing surveillance system with community-based surveillance (CBS), utilizing existing CARE program platforms and engagement approaches at the community level. Volunteers from the community were recruited and trained to act as liaisons between the health system and the community. As CBS focal points, these individuals support efforts for disease prevention and early detection to reduce the spread of transmission and enable faster responses, working alongside community health workers, facility-based health workers, and health district staff.


CBS focal points provide education on good hygiene practices and promote the use of chloramine tablets for water purification. They also make routine home visits to check on the health of families in their area. Any suspected adverse public health events they find (including a community-defined description of cholera) are reported back to the head nurse at the local health facility, who begins an investigation and ensures it is reported to the health district office.

Early detection of emerging public health threats improved.

Hygiene behaviors among families in the community improved.

Program achievements

After seven months of implementation in DRC, CARE interviewed stakeholders and learned of the following changes:

  • Early detection of emerging public health threats improved. The project even detected several cases of measles early on, sending the patients to health facilities for treatment and prompting a measles vaccination campaign.
  • Hygiene behaviors among families in the community also improved. Health district officials noted increased latrine use, handwashing, and use of chloramine tablets for water treatment after the community had been educated on disease prevention.
  • Community members began to trust the health system more.


Community-Based Approach to Support Community Listening, Advocacy, and Action Planning During Public Health Emergencies Manual

Developed from learning from DRC during Ebola and COVID-19 outbreaks, this manual outlines an approach adapted from CARE’s Community Score Card and Social Analysis and Action methodologies to support community-driven PHE response.

Read More

Public Health Emergency Preparedness Pilot Project – Evaluation Report

In May/June of 2019, CARE conducted an evaluation to better understand the effectiveness of the pilot project to contribute to public health emergency preparedness, including prevention, early detection and response, as perceived by project participants.

Read More

Building a Bridge for Better Infectious Disease Prevention and Control

While the eyes of the global health community are focused on the Ebola epidemic in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), another dangerous pathogen continues to ravage vulnerable communities throughout the country: cholera.

Read the blog post on Frontline Healthworkers Coalition