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.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

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

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

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