A Global Health Security Agenda (GSHA) against infectious diseases was launched Thursday by the United States to strengthen disease response capabilities worldwide.
In a conference organized by Health and Human Service (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, she introduced a new agenda that aims to improve the ability of different countries around the world to act against infectious disease outbreaks, such as H7N9 influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), through prevention, detection and treatment.
In her opening remarks during the conference, she said that "Microbes and diseases are moving faster and farther than ever. And one thing we know for certain: They do not recognize or stop at national borders. A threat anywhere is indeed a threat everywhere."
Since infectious diseases can quickly spread worldwide, people around the world are severely susceptible to acquiring them, said Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a press conference.
But by working together with at least 30 countries with a common goal of improving and equipping each with knowledge about disease prevention, detection, and response, at least four billion global citizens can be protected within the next five years, Sebellius added.
In 2013, CDC conducted pilot projects of GSHA in Uganda and Vietnam. Results of those showed that quick advancement can happen.
This year, CDC is planning on spending $40 million in existing funds in conducting the similar projects in 10 additional countries. Frieden didn't disclose which countries will be involved in this year's projects but he hinted that they will be low- and middle-income countries.
"We've identified that they have interest and willingness to make rapid progress and a clear need," Frieden said in the press conference.
As for next year, the Obama administration will allot a budget amounting to $45 million to support projects in more countries.
Other countries involved in the project aside from Uganda and Vietnam include United Kingdom, Turkey, South Korea, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, the Russian Federation, Norway, Netherlands, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Japan, Italy, Indonesia, India, Germany, Georgia, France, Finland, Ethiopia, China, Chile, Canada, Australia, and Argentina.
Several U.S. agencies also participated in the said project like the U.S. Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Agriculture, World Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
Further details of the new agenda can be read on the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) website of the University of Minnesota.