U.S. Leadership In GHSA Vital To Sustaining Momentum Toward Global Health Security

JAMA: The Importance of Continued U.S. Investment to Sustain Momentum Toward Global Health Security
Jennifer B. Nuzzo, senior associate at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and visiting associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Anita J. Cicero, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security; and Thomas V. Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

“…[T]he work of the [Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA)], including motivating and assisting countries to improve their capacities to prevent epidemics like Ebola from reoccurring, is now at a crossroad. Even though senior officials in the Trump administration have voiced support for the GHSA, and at a recent GHSA ministerial meeting in Uganda signed onto the Kampala Declaration to extend the GHSA for at least another five years, U.S. funding for the initiative is ending and no commitment for future financial support has been made. Without additional funding, prospects for the next phase of the GHSA will be endangered. It is important for the United States to commit to support the GHSA to help protect the nation and the rest of the world from epidemic disease. … As the GHSA enters its second phase, countries will look for signs of continued U.S. support. Failing to allocate additional GHSA funding would send a negative signal to international partners which may erode the initiative’s political capital and diminish other countries’ commitments. Tempering international will would reverse momentum of the first few years of GHSA. U.S. leadership in global health security via the GHSA is not merely important for preserving international commitment. It is also, as U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson recently said, vital to U.S. national security interests. If vulnerable countries do not have the capacity to quickly cope with disease outbreaks, those outbreaks are more likely to spread internationally, including to the United States. The GHSA is a powerful tool for helping to ensure that global gaps in health security are addressed before disease outbreaks occur. It is an international effort worthy of continued U.S. investment and support” (11/30).

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