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The Plan for 2016: CDC and the President’s Global Health Security Agenda
2015 was a powerful reminder that a health threat anywhere is a health threat everywhere. In 2016, CDC and partners are looking forward to continuing work on the President’s Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), an initiative led by the Department of Health and Human Services.
In 2012, only 1 in 6 countries reported being fully prepared for disease outbreaks. As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa tragically demonstrated, it is often the countries with the fewest resources who are hit hardest by public health emergencies. To better protect people everywhere, the United States has committed more than $1 billion over the next 5 years to help 31 countries better prepare for the health impacts of natural and man-made disasters. More than half of this historic investment will focus on the continent of Africa to help prevent future outbreaks.
Global Health Security Agenda Goals
The vision of GHSA is to stop disease outbreaks as quickly as possible. Partners will work together to build a global network that can respond rapidly and effectively to disease outbreaks and help countries build their own capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to public health emergencies.
The GHSA focuses on accelerating progress toward a world safe from disease threats by supporting enhanced surveillance and biosecurity systems, immunization campaigns, and curtailing antimicrobial resistance. Establishing national laboratory and disease reporting systems will help detect threats early. In addition to building epidemiologic and laboratory workforce capacity, GHSA also focuses on incident management system training and establishing emergency operations centers around the globe.
As President Obama said at the Global Health Security Agenda Summit in 2014, “We issued a challenge to ourselves and to all nations of the world to make concrete pledges towards three key goals: prevent, detect, and respond. We have to prevent outbreaks by reducing risks. We need to detect threats immediately wherever they arise. And we need to respond rapidly and effectively when we see something happening, so that we can save lives and avert even larger outbreaks.”
CDC’s Role in Global Health Security
CDC is improving preparedness and response internationally by building close relationships with ministries of health and other public health partners abroad to encourage public health and emergency management capacity building. The agency also provides GHSA countries with resources such as funds, administrative support, and dedicated personnel, including experts in emergency response, electronic surveillance systems, and specific health threats. CDC also links emergency response efforts to recovery efforts to ensure systems and processes that have been put in place for one response can be ready for the next public health emergency.
Ebola has reminded us that to protect its citizens, each country should be equipped with a core set of public health capabilities to detect a threat when it emerges, respond rapidly and effectively, and prevent it wherever possible. All countries need to be prepared, since disease monitoring and emergency response begin at the local level. Local responses will be quicker, more efficient, and more cost-effective than responding from a great distance. However, epidemics do not stay within borders and are not the problem of individual countries or regions. GHSA is an important step toward helping build capacity in other countries and ensuring that when national capacities are overwhelmed, the world moves immediately and decisively to contain the outbreak.
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What is CDC’s role as opposed to the WHO role in global health?
The Global Health Security agenda is an effort between the U.S. government, other nations, public and private stakeholders, and international organizations, such as the World Health Organization, to promote global health security as an international security priority.
Global health security is a shared responsibility that cannot be achieved by one single group or sector of government. Its success depends upon collaboration among the health, security, and agriculture sectors. We are coordinating closely with partners such as the World Health Organization to move toward achieving the goals of the Global Health Security Agenda, International Health Regulations, and facilitating other global health security measures.
In addition to working together on the International Health Regulations and the Global Health Security Agenda CDC and WHO partner on numerous other health issues. To learn more about CDC’s work in global health please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/index.html and to learn more about WHO’s global health initiatives please visit: http://www.who.int/en/.
Interesting fact that only 1 in 6 countries are equipped to deal with a disease outbreak. As stated, it is true that countries with the fewer resources are hit the hardest by this disease, but it is also their lack of resources that cause the outbreak in the first place. The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) sounds like a great idea if provided with the right funding and budget and hopefully more countries participate in its support. Like mentioned before, health threat anywhere is a health threat everywhere. I truly hope that the CDC and all agencies involved can make it work and provide a safer planet for our future generations.
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