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U.S. Must Continue To Invest In Disease Outbreak, Pandemic Preparedness

STAT: Securing the U.S. from its most dangerous invader: infectious disease
Ashley Arabasadi, health security policy adviser at Management Sciences for Health

“…[W]hat investments must we make to keep America — and the world — safe from infectious disease epidemics? First, it’s imperative to continue funding the overseas operations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. … Likewise, the U.S. should continue supporting global health efforts, including those that focus on animal health and zoonotic disease threats funded under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the CDC. … It is critical for the U.S. to have sufficient and flexible funding, such as the CDC’s Emergency Response Fund, to deal with emerging threats without requiring congressional approval. … The U.S. should also establish a well-funded, centralized coordinating body for global health security. … Only stalwart leadership in the U.S. and in vulnerable countries can keep us safe” (8/31).

The Hill: Pandemics have an edge in our most vulnerable countries — here’s how to fight back
Ashley Arabasadi, health security policy adviser at Management Sciences for Health

“…As we face repeated outbreaks of infectious diseases, including new pathogens, it is essential that U.S. policymakers continue funding the operations that make containment possible. … These investments help us conduct disease surveillance in the low-income countries where the next deadly virus is likely to originate. … Likewise, the U.S. should continue to support global health efforts, including those that focus on animal health and zoonotic disease threats. … Global health security is only as strong as its weakest link. We learned so much from the 2014 Ebola epidemic, and it is vital that the U.S. continues to invest in preventing a repeat of such an event — or worse” (8/14).

The Conversation: Three reasons the U.S. is not ready for the next pandemic
Christine Crudo Blackburn, postdoctoral research fellow at the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University; Andrew Natsios, director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs and executive professor at Texas A&M University; and Gerald W. Parker, associate dean for Global One Health at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, and director of the Pandemic and Biosecurity Policy Program at the Scowcroft Institute for International Affairs

“…[T]he U.S. must address the threat of pandemics in cooperation with all other nations and with multilateral institutions … We believe that investment in global health security … and remaining engaged with the international community to prevent an outbreak from becoming a pandemic is the best way to protect the American people. Additionally, we believe that the U.S. should commit to pandemic preparedness by creating a position of authority within the White House that transcends administrations and elevates pandemics as existential threats to a national security priority. There is a need to have decision-making authority and oversight vested at the highest levels of government. … The need for high-level leadership, coordination, and a new strategy are essential to mitigate the threat of pandemics, but these fundamental pandemic preparedness gaps persist. … Right now, … the country lacks the sufficient safeguards we have outlined. … Outbreaks are inevitable, but pandemics are not if we take action now” (8/20).

The Hill: Sustained U.S. preparedness needed for Ebola and other pan-epidemic threats
Daniel Lucey, infectious diseases physician and adjunct professor of infectious diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center, senior scholar at the Georgetown University O’Neill Institute, and member and spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America

“…We need to remember the role [the U.S.-initiated, international partnership of the Global Health Security Agenda] has played in strengthening current [disease outbreak] responses when its funding comes up for renewal in the coming year. Similarly, the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act helped build community capacities at home to address public health threats while supporting needed biomedical innovation. Up for reauthorization this year, its purpose remains critical, and Congress should act swiftly to ensure that it contains provisions that ensure a prepared public health workforce and drives the development of medical countermeasures that include vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics. American leadership in West Africa and in the USA was essential in stopping the 2013-2016 Ebola pan-epidemic … Sustaining U.S. leadership in the perpetual war against outbreaks, pan-epidemics, and truly global pandemics is essential for our own protection as well as a more secure and stable world outside our borders” (8/10).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.