TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Earlier this month, world leaders came together in Seoul to advance the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA).
The GHSA “seek[s]to accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats and to promote global health security as an international security priority,” says GlobalHealth.gov.
According to the site, the GHSA contains nine objectives:
- Prevent the emergence and spread of antimicrobial drug resistant organisms and emerging zoonotic diseases, and strengthen international regulatory frameworks governing food safety.
- Promote national biosafety and biosecurity systems.
- Reduce the number and magnitude of infectious disease outbreaks.
- Launch, strengthen and link global networks for real-time biosurveillance.
- Strengthen the global norm of rapid, transparent reporting and sample sharing.
- Develop and deploy novel diagnostics and strengthen laboratory systems.
- Train and deploy an effective disease surveillance workforce.
- Develop an interconnected global network of Emergency Operations Centers and multi-sectoral response to biological incidents.
- Improve global access to medical and non-medical countermeasures during health emergencies.
At a time when epidemic threats are prevalent in many developing countries, including Ebola in West Africa, the GHSA is a topic needing much attention. In late September, there were more than 28,000 confirmed cases of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization.
Ebola served as a wake-up call around the world, illuminating the need to find a way to rid the world of deadly diseases and stabilize global health protocols.
At the meeting in Seoul, ministers and other senior officials from 47 governments, as well as nine international organizations and over a dozen non-governmental partners, took the podium to pledge specific actions to prevent future outbreaks from becoming epidemics, according to the White House.
Aside from signing on to help build back after Ebola, the conference also encouraged countries “to undergo external, independent assessments against the GHSA targets – to create a map of the gaps in our global health security architecture.” The external assessment tool has now been piloted in Georgia, Peru, Portugal, Uganda and the United Kingdom.
To that end, the White House also announced, “the United States will assist at least 30 countries to achieve the GHSA targets by 2020, including 17 countries and $1 billion announced by President Obama in July and additional focus countries to be announced soon.”
– Ashley Tressel