Global Health Security programs support the prevention and detection of—and rapid response to—emerging disease threats like Ebola and COVID-19 to stop outbreaks from spreading.
What does it buy?
Funding is used to build and strengthen emergency operation centers, improve systems that monitor and track outbreaks worldwide, and bolster the health workforce in affected countries to identify and stop outbreaks at the source more quickly. Funds also expand the U.S. cadre of disease detectives and aid workers deployed to vulnerable communities in isolated areas unprepared for a pandemic and improve testing and laboratory capacity abroad.
Why is it important?
With help from the U.S., Ministries of Health have activated stronger diagnostic networks, improved their ability to track and contain the spread of deadly diseases, and launched robust information systems.
Global Health Security programs provide support to priority countries to improve capabilities to stop disease outbreaks at the source before they become international crises that require billion-dollar responses and threaten neighboring areas.
Global Health Security programs have helped countries like Cameroon and Liberia—ground-zero for Ebola in 2014— shorten their response times to outbreaks from weeks to just 24 hours.
Investments in developing countries have led to better preparation for and responses to disease outbreaks.
Uganda can now make quick diagnoses and implement rapid response mechanisms, quelling Ebola cases crossing over the border with neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, where the disease has killed more than 2,287 as of October 2020.
Global Health Security programs provide support to countries to help stop disease outbreaks before they become international crises.
Why should Americans care?
Infectious disease outbreaks—whether naturally occurring, deliberate, or accidental—and other emerging global health threats are increasing in both frequency and severity. Factors such as globalization, urbanization, climate change, and the ease of travel and trade mean that dangerous pathogens are more easily spread around the world. As seen with COVID-19 and Ebola, infectious diseases have consequences for Americans’ health at home and around the world.
Infectious diseases kill millions, cost billions, and exacerbate political and economic instability and insecurity—calculated in terms of lives lost, economic consequences, and global instability. Infectious disease outbreaks pose an immeasurable cost when not rapidly stopped.
COVID-19 has exacerbated already strained health systems, and these strains will persist long after the pandemic’s conclusion. U.S. investments in global health security fortify a countries’ ability to strengthen health systems, identify disease threats at their source, and prevent future outbreaks from spreading beyond borders.
COVID-19 has highlighted persistent gaps in detecting, preventing, and responding to outbreaks. It spotlights the damage pandemics cause on basic health system functioning, such as disruptions in providing maternal and newborn health care; treating patients with HIV, TB, or malaria; and doubled the cost of routine immunizations.
What more could be done?
Additional funding for global health security at USAID and the Centers for Disease Control will strengthen vulnerable health systems abroad.
Support could include resources for infrastructure projects, workforce development, and technical assistance to effectively reduce risk and fill dangerous gaps in global health security.
Continue to support U.S. engagement in the Global Health Security Agenda through the Department of State to ensure that meaningful action, political will, and financing strategies exist to fill gaps in health security and advance national and international action plans.
This should include significant funding for U.S. domestic and international roles in the Global Health Security Agenda, including support for all departments and agencies that advance global health security, including USAID, CDC, State, the Departments of Defense, Justice, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services.
Ensure sustainable investments in global health research and development for vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and other health tools.
Funding levels may not accurately reflect those in the appropriations bills and/or reports due to rounding.