Obama Team Launches Global Partnership Aimed at Battling Pandemics

CDC file photo

The U.S. is launching a worldwide effort to prevent, detect, and respond to the outbreak of infectious diseases.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joined Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, to announce the Global Health Security Agenda, an effort of 26 nations and three international organizations to stop loss of life, avert serious economic consequences associated with mass infection, and block bioterror threats.

"We know that outbreaks anywhere in the world are only a plane ride away," said Laura Holgate, senior director at the National Security Council.

Thursday's announcement from the White House mirrors the efforts of the the World Health Organization, which set out International Health Regulations in 2005 in an effort to create a global reporting and response system for public health risks. Less than one in five countries adheres to WHO standards, and Holgate said they're "putting political highlights" on it.

"The U.S. is putting resources toward this and others should do the same," she said.

Roughly $40 million will come out of existing U.S. resources to support the efforts in 2014 of 10 low- and middle-income countries that are working to meet the International Health Regulations laid out by WHO, according to Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2015, Frieden added, the president plans to allocate $45 million to the CDC for the explicit purpose of global health security.

There's already promising results in one of the pilot programs the U.S. has launched, according to Frieden. The CDC worked with Uganda—a country that has dealt with numerous outbreaks, including Ebola and cholera—to transport samples from potentially infectious patients for remote testing, and used text messaging to track the cases. The CDC has already measured improvements in lab testing and interoperabillity of information and management systems in Uganda.

The goal of the worldwide effort is "to slow the spread of antimicrobial resistance, establish national biosecurity systems, reduce zoonotic disease transmission, increase routine immunization, establish and strengthen national infectious disease surveillance and laboratory systems, and develop real-time electronic reporting systems and emergency operations centers," according to a press release.

The White House plans to meet with the nations committed to its health agenda to measure progress this fall.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.