Office of Health Protection (OHP)
About the Office of Health Protection
This page contains information on the roles of the Office of Health Protection and the responsibilities of each Branch and Section.
OHP Internet sites
These are the major websites for which the Office of Health Protection is responsible
These are the major websites for which the Office of Health Protection is responsible
- Arbovirus and malaria surveillance
- Avian influenza (bird flu)
- Biosecurity Bill
- Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections
- Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease)
- Communicable diseases surveillance
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
- Environmental Health
- Health Emergency
- Health Emergency Preparedness and Response
- Immunise Australia Program
- Immunisation Handbook
- Infection Control Guidelines
- Joint Expert Technical Advisory Committee on Antibiotic Resistance
- Office of Chemical Safety
- Pandemic influenza
- Pituitary hormones
- Quarantine and travel health
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
- Sexual Health
- Sexually transmitted infections
- World Aids Day
First Assistant Secretary - Megan Morris
The mission of the Office of Health Protection, in partnership with our key stakeholders, is to protect the health of the Australian community through effective national leadership and coordination and building of appropriate capacity and capability to detect, prevent and respond to threats to public health and safety.
OHP’s primary goals are to:
- identify, analyse and prioritise health threats requiring national intervention;
- prevent health threats through implementation of national strategies and effective regulation;
- support national health readiness through the development of plans, capacities and capabilities; and
- coordinate health responses to emergencies and other threats.
Health Protection and Surveillance BranchAssistant Secretary - Maria Jolly
The Health Protection and Surveillance Branch provides national leadership, policy advice, analysis, coordination and communication of health protection strategies and responses to emerging and current Communicable Disease threats to the Australian population, in partnership with jurisdictions and other stakeholders.
The key activities of the branch are governed by responsibilities under international legislation requirements, Commonwealth legislation requirements and Budget Measures as outlined below.
Management of human health at the border including, administration of the human health components of the Quarantine Act 1908 and implementation of International Health Regulations (2005) requirements.
The National Health Security (NHS) Act gives effect to the International Health Regulation(IHRs) at the national level. It provides for a national system of public health surveillance to enhance the capacity of the Commonwealth and the States and Territories to identify and respond to public health events of national significance including communicable disease outbreaks. It provides for the sharing of information with the World Health Organization and countries affected by a public health event.
The Branch is responsible for a range of surveillance activities that emerge from these international and national responsibilities. This includes:
- development and maintenance of policies, systems for surveillance and analysis of communicable and emerging infectious diseases;
- National coordination of surveillance through the Communicable Diseases Network Australia:
- ongoing review of the National Notifiable Disease List and collect data and information; and
- establishment of sentinel surveillance programs (such as for influenza surveillance) and laboratory analyses (such as strain typing for particular diseases).
Delivery of human health aspects of the Government’s biosecurity reforms which respond to the Beale Review into Australia’s quarantine and biosecurity arrangements, including the development of new legislation to replace the Quarantine Act 1908 and the development of strategic approaches for current health risks in Australia.
Liaison with other Australian Government agencies and international fora on international and cross border health protection and surveillance matters. This includes the management of Torres Strait Cross Border Health Issues in consultation with DFAT, PM&C, AusAid and Qld Health including chairing the Health Issues Committee.
Management of the Health Surveillance Fund established to provide a flexible funding pool for grant and non-grant funding for surveillance activities required by the Department, for example, detecting communicable disease outbreaks and monitoring the impact of interventions to prevent and respond to chronic disease across the continuum of care.
Delivering on the Government’s commitment to implement the recommendations from the strategic review of the National Medical Stockpile Budget Measure through the National Medical Stockpile (NMS) Taskforce,
Contribute to the development of a national communicable disease strategy and pandemic planning.
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Health Emergency Management BranchAssistant Secretary - Gary Lum, AM
The Health Emergency Management Branch is responsible for effective risk assessment and coordination of national health responses to naturally occurring or deliberately introduced biological and emerging threats to the population. serves as the primary coordination point for consideration of health protection policy and operational matters with states and territories.
Its activities include:
- ensuring Australia’s health system has integrated and coordinated arrangements in place to respond to national health emergencies and protect the community including working closely with states and territories through the Australian Health Protection Committee (AHPC);
- building Australia’s capability to respond to national health emergencies including working closely with states and territories through the National Health Emergency Management Subcommittee (NHEMS);
- coordinating national responses to health emergencies;
- managing the National Incident Room (NIR), including its infrastructure, its Workforce recruitment and training and its role as National Focal Point for WHO International Health Regulations 2005;
- supporting the operations of AHPC and its subcommittees, viz., the Public Health Laboratory Network (PHLN), NHEMS, CDNA, and the Environmental Health Committee (enHealth);
- managing the National Medical Stockpile, including inventory management, stock procurement, budgeting and managing Stockpile deployment arrangements with states and territories as required;
- providing national leadership on strategies to support the health sector and the whole of government to effectively respond to an influenza pandemic;
- managing pandemic vaccine development contracts;
- overseeing the establishment, development and maintenance of the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre at the Royal Darwin Hospital;
- administering the Security Sensitive Biological Agents Regulatory Scheme;
- building laboratory capacity to detect, identify and respond to existing and emerging communicable diseases and security sensitive biological agents including working closely with states and territories through the PHLN and the Australian (counter-)Bioterrorism Laboratory Network;
- liaising with Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) on radiological hazards;
- liaising with the national security community on matters relating to all-hazards threatening Australia and Australians;
- provide an environmental health policy coordination role across the portfolio and the Australian Government and working closely with states and territories through enHealth; and
- policy development and
- stakeholder liaison associated with the Health Protection Fund.
Health Protection Programs BranchAssistant Secretary - Julianne Quaine
The Health Protection Programs Branch is responsible for the management of immunisation, blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections programs and policies to support the Government’s preventative health framework.
The Branch’s major focus is:
- implementing the National Immunisation Program (NIP) a joint program with states and territories managed under the National Partnership Agreement on Essential Vaccines (NPEV); and
- leading and coordinating the Government’s response to blood-borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections in line with the priorities identified in the five National Strategies which address blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections.
- undertaking the procurement of essential vaccines for the National Immunisation Program;
- developing a National Immunisation Strategy;
- developing evidence based policy and technical advice to support the Immunise Australia Program;
- facilitating the ongoing management of the NPEV including performance indicators and liaison with states and territories;
- managing the financial aspects of the NPEV including management of supply contracts
- liaising with the Therapeutic Goods Administration on aspects of vaccine registration, adverse event monitoring and reporting in relation to vaccines on the NIP;
- liaising with the Pharmaceutical Benefits Division on Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee consideration of vaccine applications for the NIP;
- policy oversight of the Communicable Disease Service Improvements Grants Fund;
- policy oversight of the Health Surveillance Fund in relation to research and surveillance for BBV and STIs
- issuing invitation to apply and assessment of applications for the Communicable Disease Service Improvements Grants Fund; and
- ongoing liaison, communication, co-operation and policy co-ordination with community based organisations, research centres and states and territories.
- the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for safety of the blood supply;
- the National Centre for Immunisation and Surveillance Research (NCIRS) for Immunise Australia Program;
- Medicare Australia for the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR); and
- the Victorian Cytology (VCS) for the Human Papillomavius Vaccination Program Register.
- the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI);
- the National Immunisation Committee (NIC);
- the Blood Borne Virus and Sexually Transmissible Infections Sub Committee (BBVSS); and
- the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections (MACBBVS)