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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Role Of U.S. Investments In Global Health

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Lassa fever and global health security
Editorial Board

“…[F]unding for the CDC’s work on the Global Health Security Agenda is set to end in 2019, and under the Trump administration’s America First approach there is little prospect of renewal. … The timing of this news is all the more notable as it comes during Nigeria’s Lassa fever epidemic. … In short, Lassa fever is precisely the kind of pathogen that the Global Health Security Agenda is designed to counter. … The epidemic is not yet the threat to regional and international health that Ebola was. Next time, the global health community may not be so lucky. The acceleration in R&D borne out of the Ebola virus disease epidemic … [is] an essential part of pandemic prevention. … But new high-tech treatments, diagnostics, and vaccines will not be enough. Strengthening health systems, ensuring basic laboratory capacity, and sharpening surveillance and emergency responses are also needed — just the sort of activities that the Global Health Security Agenda is working to ensure. The U.S. administration seems intent on pulling away from its primacy in global health security. Who will fill the void?” (April 2018).

STAT: Shortchanging global health now will cost us later
Ashley Arabasadi, health security policy adviser at Management Sciences for Health

“…[T]here should be little resistance to the notion that it is in our country’s interest to fund programs that detect and contain diseases at their source. … Strategic investments in public and animal health and pandemic preparedness need to be a national security priority of governments and a key commitment from multilateral agencies, development banks, NGOs, academia, and private sector stakeholders worldwide. When calculated in terms of lives lost, economic meltdowns, and global instability, infectious disease outbreaks can cause catastrophic losses when not stopped at the source. Doing that requires investing in the CDC and USAID, and the programs and people watching and working in vulnerable countries. Now is not the time to scale back” (3/21).

Sun Sentinel: Advocating locally for global health
Renee Lewis, executive director of Project Medishare

“…Being at the forefront of health care in Haiti, I have witnessed the overall progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria over the years, not only in rural communities but countrywide. Part of the reason is because Haiti is one of 13 PEPFAR priority countries in the world. … Another reason is because of the support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria … Within the month, Congress’ planning session for the 2019 federal budget will soon begin, and Sen. Marco Rubio [(R-Fla.)] will have the opportunity to lead on the Appropriations Committee to restore this funding to fiscal year 2017 levels to continue the momentum of incredible progress of saving millions of lives, around the world and in Haiti. … We urge Sen. Rubio to do everything he can to continue fighting for steady U.S. support of the Global Fund, PEPFAR, and the humanitarian leadership that is a deep source of pride for America” (3/21).

Contagion Live: U.S. Investment in Global Health Security — A Good Return
Saskia Popescu, hospital epidemiologist and infection preventionist with Phoenix Children’s Hospital

“…[D]espite the importance of global health security and the [Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA)], its future is in jeopardy as [U.S.] funding [for CDC’s work on the GHSA] is set to run [out] by the end of 2019. … Currently, there are 60 countries that participate in the GHSA, and the United States either leads or significantly contributes to several of its action packages. … [W]ithout the United States leading and encouraging such efforts, the future of global health security and American biodefense is at stake” (3/21).

News & Observer: To keep NC healthy, protect global health programs
Christopher A. LeGrand, president of DAI Global Health, board chair of the Triangle Global Health Consortium, and member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s North Carolina Advisory Committee

“…U.S. investments in global health programs not only save lives around the world, they help keep North Carolinians healthy here at home — which is why everyone in the Tar Heel State should be alarmed by the administration’s latest budget request. … We cannot close ourselves off to the world and pretend that health threats overseas don’t impact us here at home. … Congress has a responsibility to ensure we’re doing everything we can to fight disease outbreaks wherever they occur. I urge the entire North Carolina delegation in Congress to fully fund America’s International Affairs Budget” (3/20).

New York Times: Letter to the editor: Preventing the Next Ebola
Ziya Zhang of Berkeley, California

“[In response to the March 13 New York Times article titled,] ‘White House Hails Success of Disease-Preventing Program, and Plans Deep Cuts,’ about proposed funding cuts for the Global Health Security Agenda: … [T]he ever-present risk of an epidemic is a reminder that we live in an interconnected and interdependent world. … Applying an ‘America first’ attitude to epidemic prevention would allow for the growth and spread of disease reservoirs and would, in effect, be putting America last. … We must treat threats to other countries’ health as if they were threats to our own health and advocate for global health just as we would for domestic issues” (3/20).

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