Today the United States joined 26 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), to accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from the threat of infectious disease, and committing to the goals of the Global Health Security Agenda.
“Global health security is a shared responsibility; no one country can achieve it alone,” says Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “In the coming months, we will welcome other nations to join the United States and the 26 other countries gathered here in Washington and in Geneva, as we work to close the gaps in our ability to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats.”
Over the next five years the United States plans to work with at least 30 partner countries (containing at least 4 billion people) to prevent, detect and effectively respond to infectious disease threats, whether naturally occurring or caused by accidental or intentional releases of dangerous pathogens.
“While we have made great progress in fighting and treating diseases, biological threats can emerge anywhere, travel quickly, and take lives,” says Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. “The recent outbreaks of H7N9 influenza and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome are reminders of the need to step up our efforts as a global community. The Global Health Security Agenda is about accelerating progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.”
Later this year, the White House will host an event bringing together nations who are committed to protecting the world from infectious disease threats to review progress and chart the way forward on building a global system for preventing, detecting, and responding to such threats.
“The United States and the world can and must do more to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks as early and as effectively as possible,” says CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “CDC conducted two global health security demonstration projects last year in partnership with Vietnam and Uganda to strengthen laboratory systems, develop strong public health emergency operations centers, and create real-time data sharing in health emergencies. CDC is committed to replicate the successes in these two projects in ten additional countries this year.”
In FY 2014, CDC and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency have jointly committed to accelerate progress on global health security by co-developing a strategy and devoting $40 million toward activities focusing on advancing the U.S. government's GHS objectives in ten nations.
The FY 2015 President’s Budget will include an increase of $45 million within CDC to prevent avoidable catastrophes, detect threats early, and mobilize effective responses to contain outbreaks. The increase also would allow CDC to partner with up to ten countries in 2015 to begin implementation and accelerate successful CDC efforts including training of field epidemiologists, developing new diagnostic tests, building capacities to detect new pathogens, building public health emergency management capacity, and supporting outbreak responses.
Sebelius, Monaco and Frieden were joined at the launch meeting by representatives in Washington and Geneva from 26 other countries, three international organizations, and by other U.S. government officials, including deputy secretary of state Heather Higginbottom, acting deputy secretary of defense Christine Fox, and Department of Agriculture chief veterinary officer John Clifford, whose agencies will lead efforts to fulfill the U.S. government commitment to global health security.
“Efforts to prevent deadly outbreaks strengthen geopolitical stability and security," says agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack. “None of us, not the public health, security or agriculture sectors can accomplish global health security on our own—it is obvious that an interdisciplinary approach is the best way to make progress.”
HHS, DoS, USDA, and DoD will work closely with global partners to build countries’ global health security capacities in areas such as surveillance, detection and response in order to slow the spread of antimicrobial resistance, establish national biosecurity systems, reduce zoonotic disease transmission, increase routine immunization, establish and strengthen national infectious disease surveillance and laboratory systems, and develop public health electronic reporting systems and emergency operations centers.
“The Global Health Security Agenda set forth today establishes a roadmap for progress that ultimately depends on collaboration between the health and security communities,” says Fox. “The Department of Defense is committed to continuing our work, together with our national and international partners, to strengthen global health security.”
Countries joining the United States to meet the Global Health Security goals at today’s launch were Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom and Vietnam.
For more information on the Global Health Security Agenda, visit: www.globalhealth.gov/global-health-topics/global-health-security/index.html