The NICD represents the country with respect to laboratory support for global programmes such as from WHO, and provides global public health services as a collaborating laboratory or a regional reference laboratory for WHO.  It also establishes 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) and 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 is made available to African countries to strengthen the existing African laboratory network for surveillance