On 9 May 2019, the Trump Administration released its Global Health Security Strategy, which prioritizes U.S. efforts to address biosecurity vulnerabilities in targeted countries. Spurred on by the increasing frequency of devastating infectious disease outbreaks—notably Ebola, Zika and the Rift Valley fever—the plan seeks to strengthen global resiliency towards these transnational threats through multilateral, regional, and bilateral engagements.
The plan, which supplements both the 2014 Global Health Agenda and the 2018 National Biodefense Strategy, establishes three goals. First, the U.S. government will seek to improve global health infrastructure through bolstering the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA)—a group of nations, international organizations and stakeholders created after the devastating 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Second, the plan aims to improve international resiliency through bilateral, regional, multilateral, and nongovernmental means. Third includes strengthening national defenses against biothreats in the American homeland.
In order to achieve these goals, the strategy seeks to build the international capabilities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). These agencies are thus tasked with working with the governments of vulnerable countries in order to improve their domestic policies towards biothreats. Specifically, this includes addressing concerns regarding antimicrobial resistance, zoonotic diseases, food safety, bio-safety and -security, immunization, national laboratory infrastructure, reporting, work force development, emergency management, and border security.
Additionally, the plan aims to bolster U.S. health infrastructure. Such efforts notably include enhancing research funding that aims to improve global preparedness, prevention, detection and response capabilities.
Priority countries, according to the strategy, include: “Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Vietnam.”
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Author: Rory Devine