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.