U.S. Investment Important To Help Nations Develop Health Capacity, Respond To Outbreaks, Opinion Piece Says
The Hill: Why an ‘America First’ approach won’t work in Ebola pandemic
Kevin Berry, assistant professor of economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage
“…For government officials in the U.S. focused on a policy of ‘America First,’ the primary concern related to emerging infectious disease is the threat and potential cost to the U.S. Suggested policies often include travel and trade restrictions on countries experiencing outbreaks and a focus on domestic preparedness rather than foreign aid. … This is … the wrong approach from an ‘America First’ perspective. Reducing the risk of an outbreak threatening the U.S. means rapidly responding to smaller outbreaks overseas and building health care capacity in hotspots for disease emergence. … By building capacity abroad, the U.S. reduces the probability of an outbreak reaching its own shores. … [D]onor nations should look to partner with international and private organizations to make more lasting, long-term investments in health capacity to prevent and quickly respond to outbreaks. The investment in a mobile ‘standing army’ of capacity to respond to outbreaks in disease hotspots could have potential economic returns in response to diseases like Ebola, and, after large start-up costs, would only require investments to maintain existing capacity” (7/29).