The NICD represents the country concerning laboratory support for national programmes of the National and Provincial Departments of Health. The NICD also 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 cooperative agreements with august institutions such as the CDC and NIH/NIAID of the USA, the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Control), as well as other internationally recognised institutions. The NICD thus endeavours to establish itself as one of the significant global role players in communicable diseases, providing the world health community with critical 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 regarding AFP surveillance as well as an EQA/PT provider regarding HIV-1, helping 40 countries and measles serving SADC countries as well as microbiological PT. WHO supports the PT activities for both virology and microbiology. 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.